Alderford Water Mill

Alderford water mill

Collage of photos of Alderford Water Mill

This Grade II*-listed timber building is typical of rural water mills and one of the best preserved in Essex.

It stands where Alderford Road crosses the River Colne on the east side of Sible Hedingham.

It has a breast-shot waterwheel, and three steam-driven and two water-driven millstones, one restored to working order. The water wheel inside runs on open days when water levels allow.


The earliest known reference to a mill on this site dates from 1597. The current mill building is 19th century, with an earlier undershot waterwheel – probably 17th century.

The site mainly milled corn until WWII when it began producing animal feed.

The original 18th-century mill had two sets of stones. In around 1850 the mill was altered to incorporate a steam mill, increasing production and offsetting against times when water levels were too low to drive the waterwheel. The mill then boasted three sets of steam-driven stones and two sets of water-driven stones.

Later, the steam engine was replaced with an oil engine and in the 1940s, the mill was electrified. Belt-driven free-standing crushers replaced the engine-driven millstones. These and the water-driven stones continued grinding corn and pulses for animal feed until the mill stopped producing in 1956.

Essex County Council bought the building in 1994 and restored it alongside the Friends of Alderford Mill. The site has been welcoming visitors on open days since 2008.

See Alderford Mill in operation.

Photos: By Ashley Dace (Geograph 3594625, 3594262 and 3594248), Nigel Cox (Geograph 1458266) and John Lemay (Geograph 1295346), licensed under Creative Commons.

If you are travelling on public transport to get to one of the Essex Country Parks – take a look at the Traveline journey planner.


Second Sunday in the month May to November 2pm to 5pm

Find and contact

Alderford Street
Sible Hedingham

0345 603 7624

At this place

Dogs: Not allowed
Picnics: Allowed
BBQ: Not Allowed



Limited parking along the road in Alderford Street

Our Open Day

This will be Sunday 13 May as part of National Mills Weekend

Walks in the area

  • Alderford Mill lies at one end of the Hedingham Riverside Walk, a natural wilderness area maintained by local volunteers. You can enter this walk beside the mill and enjoy a pleasant stroll along a path suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
  • You can also begin the Hedingham Mills Walk from Alderford Mill, a well-maintained and well-marked one-hour circular walk taking you past Hull's Mill and back through a bluebell wood.

Group visits

Arrange a group visit to Alderford Mill by calling Gemma Clayton on 0333 013 8156 or emailing

For schools

Our mills team can design a school group visit to Alderford Mill that will release children’s imaginations and meet your curriculum needs. Please call the team on 0345 603 7624.


By joining Friends Of Alderford Mill you can learn more about the mill’s history and how it works, become a guide, help further restore the mill and meet new people. Contact the Friends to get involved.

National Mills Weekend

Sunday 13 May 2018 2pm - 5pm
Free admission, but donations to the Friends Group are much appreciated.


There are no toilets at the mill.


Ready access to ground floor only.

Location Map