Eling Tide Mill is one of only two remaining operating tide mills in the United Kingdom. The other is Woodbridge Tide Mill in Suffolk.
The current mill dates from the 1770s when it (and the dam) were completely rebuilt after a bad series of storms and floods. However there is mention of two mills at Eling in the Domesday Book, although we cannot be certain either was on this site.
The Working Stones
The milling machinery was last replaced in 1892, when the old wooden undershot wheels and main gearing were replaced by cast iron Poncelet wheels (which increased the efficiency) with cast iron axles and gears. The mill was abandoned in 1946, and just left to rot.
Then in 1975 the mill was bought by New Forest District Council mainly to secure the causeway and bridge. Once they realised the importance of the mill, and began work to restore it, in conjunction with the newly formed Totton and Eling Historical Society. The mill reopened in 1980, and was run by the Eling Tide Mill Trust until the beginning of 2009 when Totton and Eling Town Council who took over the job.
The Toll Bridge
It has to be said that the restoration was not entirely sympathetic; the glass panelled partitions and yellow metal barriers are more 1970s than 1770s but, that said, enough of the old mill survives to give a good idea of what it might have been like in its heyday.
Due to problems with the sluice gate, the mill was out of action at the time of my visit (2014) and was looking a bit sorry for itself. Check the official site for the latest news along with details of opening times, milling times, admission prices, etc.