Thorrington Tide Mill

Exterior of Thorrington Tide Mill in pretty lakeside setting
"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 and you can see the mill as part of several interesting walks in the local area. The nearest station is Alresford.

Collage of photos of Thorrington Tide Mill

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.


Not currently open to the public

Find and contact

Brightlingsea Road

0345 603 7624

At this place

Dogs: Not allowed
Picnics: Allowed
BBQ: Not Allowed



Small car park provided just off the B1029 to Brightlingsea

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:

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 0345 603 7624 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.


Information on access to Thorrington Tide Mill can be found on AccessAble, formerly Disabled Go.

Location Map