DID you know that Portland has what are thought to be the only examples left of Dorset windmills?

Although not in a good state of preservation, they are both listed buildings and are shown on a map of 1629, although it is considered

that they could be of much more ancient origin.

The stone tower mills were an important part of the island's agricultural system and the miller was still grinding the grain there until the end of the 19th century, both for bigger commercial enterprises and for the women who gleaned what they could from the fields after the crops had been harvested.

The flour they gained from these gleanings no doubt helped to supplement food supplies in winter when fishing was poor.

The towers also served an important purpose during the Naploeonic Wars when they were used as look-out posts when there was fear of French invasion of our shores.

These antiquities are yet another reminder of the times when Portlanders depended upon stone, fishing, agriculture and the forces of nature for their livelihood.

The windmills, now bereft of their wooden sails, are situated in Droopfields, close to Haylands.

One sail has been preserved for posterity and is kept in the garden at Portland Museum.