Hassocks ancient windmill to turn into time machine in family fun day

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An ancient windmill will be turned into a steam-driven time-machine for one day.

On July 5, Oldland Windmill, in Oldlands Lane, Hassocks, will be coupled to the century-old steam engine and the engine will take over the work of the sails to ground corn into wholemeal flour.

It will be the first official steam-working day at Oldland Mill for 100 years.

Stuart Meier, of the windmill trust, said, “This is going to be a unique event. We know of no other windmill in the country with a working steam drive system today.”

Oldland is Sussex’s oldest working windmill, and though wind-driven for most of its 300-year life, a steam-powered auxiliary drive was added in the 1870’s to take over whenever the sails failed to turn by wind alone.

After recently restorating the mill, volunteers have replaced the old steam mechanism and turned to steam-enthusiast Paul Attwater to help them test it out.

The windmill and steam engine will be open between 11am and 4pm on Sunday July 5 and will be grinding flour at intervals throughout the day. Visitors can also tour the mill, enjoy a BBQ, tea and cake and ale from Hurst Brewery. There is no parking but a complimentary bus service will operate every 20 minutes from the Thatched Inn, Keymer.