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Water mills and wind mills in the UK

"I grew up between two countries and two landscapes : in the English countryside and close to a beach on the other side of the world. I had the chance to see different cultures, English and Australian, and both had a great influence on my aspirations and on my life. But there were no windmills where I lived !

Judy

Water mills

Water mills have been around since Roman times, and over 5,000 were listed in the doomsday book. The windmill is a more recent invention, the earliest dating back to the 12th century. Watermills can be found all over the British Isles, whereas windmills are more common in flat, open and windy areas.

There are three basic types of water wheel : the oldest type is the undershot wheel, where the flow of the water strikes paddles and turns the wheel. In the overshot the water enters at the top of the wheel, fills trough shaped buckets and its weight makes the wheel turn. Breast shot wheels are a compromise between the two designs, with the water usually entering around axle level and flowing under the wheel (some of the earliest cotton mills used this type of wheel in gigantic proportions).

Crabble Corn Mill, near Dover, with its intricate Victorian machinery, is of the finest watermills in Europe.

Windmills

There are three main types of windmill in the UK. The earliest development is the post mill, so called because the whole mill is balanced on a post allowing the mill to face into the wind (something all windmills must be able to do, of course !). Postmills were wooden structures, so without maintenance they quickly disintegrated, and there are less than 50 left in the UK today. Stocks Mill, in Wittersham, is a post mill built in 1781.

The tower mill was a later development in which the machinery was housed in a more durable masonry or wooden tower (smock) and the cap (top) rotated on a bearing to allow the sails to face the oncoming wind.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/2685867647/The smock mill was a deviation of the tower mill and was generally built on the south eastern areas of the UK, mainly Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Surrey and Kent.
White Mill, in Sandwich, is a good example of a smock mill. It was built in 1760 and still has most of its original wooden machinery.

(from http://www.cotswoldmillwrights.com/page11.htm)

Molinos de la Mancha

El molino de viento es un símbolo castellano-manchego.

El origen de la invención de los molinos en Castilla se remonta al siglo XVI. En dicho período se habla de sequías devastadoras en el interior de la meseta sur española. Hablamos de un territorio escaso en ríos y vegetación, con una altura media cercana a los 600 metros que propicia la presencia de fuertes vientos en según qué zonas. Estos factores hacen que se busquen alternativas a las tradicionales norias movidas por el movimiento de los ríos.

Se dice que la solución de los molinos de viento es importada por los Cruzados provenientes de Tierra Santa, donde esta forma de obtener energía para moler el trigo ya era utilizada con anterioridad.

De la misma forma que los modernos generadores de energía eléctrica, los molinos de viento castellanos se sitúan en lo alto de cerros y colinas, en parajes con fuerte exposición al viento. Su proliferación a partir del siglo XVI es muy abundante y el molino se integra en el paisaje castellano-manchego. Buena muestra de ello es la famosa escena en la que Don Quijote lucha contra un grupo de molinos confundiéndolos con gigantes provistos de grandes brazos.

Con la venida de la energía eléctrica, el uso de los molinos de viento cae en completo desuso, y desaparecen casi completamente del territorio manchego. Hoy día las mejores construcciones de este tipo se sitúan en el conjunto de siete molinos de Mota del Cuervo, provincia de Cuenca.

Don Quijote se enfrenta a un molino-Alcala de Henares

Water mills and wind mills in the UK

Water mills

Water mills have been around since Roman times, and over 5,000 were listed in the doomsday book. The windmill is a more recent invention, the earliest dating back to the 12th century. Watermills can be found all over the British Isles, whereas windmills are more common in flat, open and windy areas.

There are three basic types of water wheel : the oldest type is the undershot wheel, where the flow of the water strikes paddles and turns the wheel. In the overshot the water enters at the top of the wheel, fills trough shaped buckets and its weight makes the wheel turn. Breast shot wheels are a compromise between the two designs, with the water usually entering around axle level and flowing under the wheel (some of the earliest cotton mills used this type of wheel in gigantic proportions).

Crabble Corn Mill, near Dover, with its intricate Victorian machinery, is of the finest watermills in Europe.

Windmills

There are three main types of windmill in the UK. The earliest development is the post mill, so called because the whole mill is balanced on a post allowing the mill to face into the wind (something all windmills must be able to do, of course !). Postmills were wooden structures, so without maintenance they quickly disintegrated, and there are less than 50 left in the UK today. Stocks Mill, in Wittersham, is a post mill built in 1781.

The tower mill was a later development in which the machinery was housed in a more durable masonry or wooden tower (smock) and the cap (top) rotated on a bearing to allow the sails to face the oncoming wind.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/2685867647/The smock mill was a deviation of the tower mill and was generally built on the south eastern areas of the UK, mainly Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Surrey and Kent.
White Mill, in Sandwich, is a good example of a smock mill. It was built in 1760 and still has most of its original wooden machinery.

(from http://www.cotswoldmillwrights.com/page11.htm)

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