Thorrington Tide Mill

Thorrington Tide Mill by Roger W Haworth

“In a beautiful setting… the countryside looked glorious… The guide who showed me around was really enthusiastic and informative.” – Essex Days Out

With its pretty waterside setting, Grade II*-listed building Thorrington Mill is loved by walkers and mill enthusiasts alike.

Once powered by outgoing tidal water, it is one of the few remaining tide mills in the UK.

There is a small car park nearby (available only on mill open days) and you can see the mill as part of several interesting walks in the local area. The nearest station is Alresford.

Thorrington tide mill photo collage - photos by Ashley Dace

History and operation

Although the present mill was built in 1831, there has been a mill at the head of Alresford Creek since the 17th century.

The present mill on the dam is a tall three-storeyed timber-framed building. Its white-painted weatherboarding is typical of Essex mill buildings.

On an incoming tide, a sluice – a water channel controlled by a gate – opens in the dam, allowing the mill pool to fill. On the ebb tide, the stored water is released by another sluice, driving the waterwheel.

Through a series of mechanical gears, the waterwheel rotates the millstones, which grind corn fed into a central hole.

Corn was brought to the mill and placed directly under the lucam – projecting structure with a doorway on the third storey – in sacks on a cart, then lifted to the top floor by a sack hoist, also powered by the waterwheel.

Thorrington Mill is recorded as having had very high-quality millstones, imported from France, which would have produced the finest grade white flour.

Although much of the mill’s flour may have been used locally, small vessels such as barges could dock at the landing place next to the mill to take goods for export.

The mill continued working until 1926.

Photographs by Roger W Haworth and Ashley Dace, used under Creative Commons.


Last Sunday in the month April to September 2pm – 5pm

Thorrington Tide Mill
Brightlingsea Road

0774 090 1323


No upcoming events at this location


Free parking
Dogs: No dogs
Picnics: Yes
Green Flag Award: No

Guided tours

Guided tours are available by donation on open days, giving visitors a vivid account of the mill’s operation and its importance in the local area.

Group visits

You can arrange a group visit to Thorrington Tide Mill by calling Gemma Clayton on 0333 013 8156 or emailing

Walks in the surrounding area

Many pleasant walks in the area can take in the Thorrington Tide Mill as well as surrounding countryside and views, for example:
Along Alresford Creek – 3 miles
Starting and ending at Arlesford station – 8 miles
Brightlingsea to Colchester – 12 miles

For schools

Our mills team can design a school group visit to Thorrington Tide Mill that will release children’s imaginations and meet your curriculum needs. Please call us on 08456 037624 to find out more.


There are no toilets on the site.


There is a small car park just off the B1029 to Brightlingsea. This is only available on mill open days. Parking is free.


There is ready access to ground floor, but no disabled facilities. See Thorrington Tide Mill on Disabled Go.

Location Map