• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Wessex Mill in Wantage to close at the end of the year


Sep 2, 2022

A TRADITIONAL flour mill in Oxfordshire is closing down at the end of the year.

The historical Wessex Mill, based Mill Street, Wantage, has announced that it will cease production at the end of 2022 due to rising electricity prices making it “unviable to continue milling on site”.

The brand “Wessex Mill” has been acquired by Doves Farm Food who will continue milling the product in another family flour mill in North Wessex Downs.

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Paul Munsey, managing director at Clarks, which launched Wessex Mill, said: “It was a difficult decision to close the mill, but we are very pleased to have been able to transfer the brand to another family flour mill, who will continue the tradition of milling local grains in the North Wessex Downs”.

The company has now started a consultation period with 32 staff over the closure of the mill.

In a statement released by the company, it said: “The company thanks our excellent staff for their hard work over a number of difficult years particularly during the covid pandemic.

“We would not have been able to continue milling for this long without their industry and skills.

“We thank all the bakers who have used our flour over the last hundred years for their enthusiasm for our flour and their support.

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“The future supply of ‘Wessex Mill’ flour is in excellent hands with Doves Farm Foods Ltd.”

The Munsey family have been milling in Oxfordshire for more than 100 years. The mill is currently fun by fifth generation flour miller, Emily, with the support of her father Paul.

Wessex Mill is a traditional roller milling process, as opposed to the modern energy intensive method of debranning the wheat before grinding it into flour.

They mill the flour slowly which means the flour doesn't heat up as much as other flour mills, preventing the protein from damage.

The flour is milled using local wheat collected by the family from farms surrounding the mill. They ensure only the best wheat is selected with “high quality gluten” by testing samples.

Being a small mill means the wheats from each farm can be stored separately without batching allowed the millers to select the wheats that are mixed together for the “grist to produce quality consistent flour”.

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Clare Marriage, CEO of Doves Farm Foods, said “Wessex Mill has an excellent reputation for milling the finest quality award-winning flour from locally sourced grain and serving discerning customers across the UK.

“We are excited to take on the brand to continue this tradition and bring it to even more bakers up and down the country.”

Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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