Anybody who follows my Instagram posts will know that this location here in the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire is one of my favourite places to photograph. Dating back to the 17th century Pitstone Windmill still sits proudly in a field surrounded on all sides by beautiful landscape. As you walk from the small National Trust car park along the footpath that leads directly to the windmill, turn around and see the majestic Ivinghoe Beacon with it's iconic tree perched precariously on the edge.
To the left you will see Pitstone Hill where cattle graze on the pastures, behind which a couple of miles along the narrow road you will arrive at the picturesque village of Aldbury. Follow the path past the windmill and you will see the redundant Anglican church of St Mary's. Completing the scene is the village of Ivinghoe to the right. So as you can see, the setting for this landmark is idyllic and I find a visit here is just so peaceful.
Inscribed on the woodwork inside is a date of 1697 and due to the repairs that would have taken place down the years it is thought that the windmill probably dates back to an earlier date than this. Used to grind down grain that was grown in the nearby villages to flour it is understandable that it was probably the cornerstone of village life, providing important income to the farmers.
In 1902 the windmill was severely damaged in a storm, the sails were not adjusted in time, being a post mill you could adjust the direction that the top part of the windmill faced. The damage was quite extensive and it was deemed beyond economic repair and the windmill was subsequently left to fall into disrepair.
In 1924 the Ashridge Estate was broken up and the mill was sold off. Pitstone Windmill was bought by its tenants, the Hawkins family. The Hawkins were unable to save the windmill themselves and in 1937 they donated it, and access to it, to the National Trust.
Today the windmill is purely a tourist attraction and there are opening times when you can find pout more about the working life of the mill, check with the NT regarding these times because they are quite selective. But even if the windmill is not open it is a fabulous location for landscape photographers to capture the English countryside at it's very best. I'm often found here at daybreak or sunset when the light is spectacular and you have a magnificent focal point for your work.