A busy past as a mill and a quarry failed to ruin the long-term peace of this corner of Worcestershire and the evolved property has finally come of age as a highly-individual home.


Is it a windmill? Is it a folly? No, it is an Englishman's castle.

Selling agent Andrew Grant cannot believe that successive owners have always resisted the temptation to change the name of this Inkberrow property.

"It's a proper little castle - quite wonderful with its tall tower and castellations," a spokesman said, and as the sun shone on St George's Day recently, the English flag looked particularly appropriate, flying proudly from the top roof terrace in this fascinating corner of unspoilt Worcestershire.

It is probably the perfect time of year to view The Old Windmill with its mass of primroses, cowslips and bluebells.

Any gardener who glimpsed the jungle that was once the backdrop to the property will know exactly the effort required to clear, plan and plant the now glorious grounds.

The current owners, Sheila and Mike Dale, have lived here for 24 years, lavishing perfectionist attention on their unusual home.

If the enthusiast for stone buildings spots the warm pink tinge to the local sandstone, he or she might also notice the perfectlypicked, palest pink paint colour used on the exterior woodwork and guttering.

The couple are planning to downsize from their cherished family home, being billed by the estate agents as a "once in a generation opportunity", and indeed it is just that, the Dale family having held tightly onto it for a full generation, bringing up two sons here.

Unlike many long-occupied family homes, however, there is no hard work to be done here. The whole property has been meticulously maintained on a rolling programme, its owners constantly improving whenever something catches their eye.

The Dales came to The Old Windmill to find it in pretty good order, already converted as a dwelling and needing no major works.

There were some fun things worth doing, however, notably turning a bay window in the kitchen into a true, semi-circular breakfast room, just right to echo the curves of the three circular tower rooms.

From here, lucky occupants can see right the way to the Malverns.

The house has a generous layout with six bedrooms, one of them an interesting suite on the lower ground floor, next to an equally interesting gym.

This was once the engine room of the mill tower when it was, for a period, driven by modern power.

It had been dug out of solid rock to a depth of 12ft to house the driving gear.

The evolved space makes a multi-purpose retreat with its natural stone walls, all illuminated by specialist spot lighting, and beyond this room is a huge laundry, ideal for servicing the luxury guest suites which Sheila has run, over the years, as part of the upper market Wolsey Lodges network.

Further swelling the potential of The Old Windmill is the large two-storey annexe, set well away from the house but with its own large room, kitchen and two bedroom suites.

This has doubled as a function room and overflow guest space. It would also make a perfect "granny" cottage or a self-contained home for any extended family.

It was upgraded and enlarged, upwards, by the current owners. It dates from the property's quarrying days and once served as a workshop.

Where the stonemasons once dressed the stone, the Dales had only to raise the roof slightly to make the building fully functional over two levels.

The original quarry was worked in the 18th century, attracting experienced crafts men from Wales, according the records.

Sandstone from the site was used for the house that was added to the windmill structure which once had a cap supporting four sails, wind shaft and gears, these being connected to the grinding stones.

The windmill operation ceased in the 1860s and in 1872, the sails were blown off in high winds.

Towards the end of the 19th century the cap was replaced with the castellated upper floor, and in 1906 there was proper conversion for residential use.

From 1911 a Stratford mason rented the property, leaving to serve in the First World War but then returning to buy both the mill and the quarry.

He added another extension and re-opened the quarry which was worked until the 1960s.

The Old Windmill provides a total of 4,200 sq ft of living space also including two excellent reception rooms: the drawing room, more than 20ft square and the attractive, circular dining room on the ground level of the tower.

There is also a snug on the lower ground level with a period open fireplace for added character.

There is another bedroom one floor up, also nearly circular, and three of the bedrooms form very smart suites, including the individually-named Malvern room with shower room and private access to the large, curving roof terrace above the breakfast room.

Another major selling point is the kitchen with its granite flooring and splashbacks in Chinese slate. There is also a black Aga and quality appliances as well as the wonderful westerly views from the leaded light windows which wrap round the breakfast table.

Since the house was last sold in 1984, the former quarry area has been transformed as fascinating gardens, just part of the large grounds.

There are great expanses of stone with rockeries and interesting plants, all dramatically illuminated at night.

In addition is alarge ornamental pond, large expanses of level lawns and an elevated sun terrace, paths, shrubberies and mature specimen trees.

The Old Windmill stands in a private po-sition on the edge of Inkberrow village, also with views to Bredon and the Abberley Hills.

Worcester is 12 miles, Stratford-upon-Avon is 12 miles and Birmingham, 20 miles.

Andrew Grant Country Homes is inviting offers over £985,000 for the property. Details from 01905 734735.