Welcome to Shipton Mill, the home of regenerative organic flour.

1. Shipton Mill

Love Grains, Love the Soil.

We started Shipton Mill in 1979 to mill flours from the most fantastic grains, working with like-minded farmers who promote biodiversity and who value and seek to look after the soil. Farmers whose grains speak of the soil and climate they were grown in, and a particular place and time. It is up to us to then capture and distil these flavours from the grain into flour through our precise and expert milling processes.

Slow Food.

We have always believed that yield and speed are not the correct way to measure the “success” of a crop, and that diversity and natural resilience, along with allowing wildlife to thrive and the soil to regenerate, should be the priority.

A Passion for Milling.

Once the grains are harvested, we apply rigorous testing processes to understand their baking properties fully. It is part of our craft as millers to ensure these grains are matched to the purpose they best suit, providing bakers with consistently excellent and reliable results, and working alongside nature and what the climate and seasons can offer.

Baking Community.

We craft our flours with an exceptional community of bakers, chefs and home cooks in mind, and we hope it will play a part in helping you to create incredible food, from the humble and every day to the greatest of celebrations!

Stoneground Milling

2. A Sense of Place - Our History

A mill was first recorded on this site in the Domesday book of 1086. We follow in the footsteps of generations of Millers. There is a sense of place and continuity at the heart of what we do.

It was 1979 when John Lister and his friends discovered the ruins of an old flour mill nestled deep in a Gloucestershire valley. Encircled by a river and set on the edge of an ancient wood, the Mill had remained untouched for half a century. The place was full of dreams. Influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, valuing the skills of people and craftsmanship, they were inspired to restore the shell of a mill building – this was the project they had been looking for.

They rebuilt the mill themselves. All machinery was sourced second hand, and which we still use to this day – our roller stands date back to the 1920s. Searching out old equipment, working out the mechanics of it and giving it a new lease of life means the mill is full of character. Our French burr stones were sourced from disused watermills and we dress and maintain these stones ourselves. Quarried from the Marne valley, this type of stone was (and is) prized by millers for its incredibly hard-wearing qualities, allowing for precision with stone grinding methods.

We are always looking forwards and evolving how we operate. Our Mill is now powered by energy from 100% renewable sources, including from our own solar panels. Any excess heat from the milling processes is converted into heating for our offices and provides hot water all year round.

We have eliminated plastic from all our website retail orders, which are packaged in FSC certified boxes made entirely from recycled paper fibres and which are 100% recyclable and compostable.

The Mill, surrounding river and millpond are home to a thriving and diverse ecosystem, including wild brown trout, kingfishers, damselflies and otters. Now we have completed the restoration of the millwheel we are working on generating our own electricity from it and the river that flows under the Mill.

3.    THE MILL GARDEN

Over the years we have cultivated the walled Mill garden to grow fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs using organic and biodynamic methods, with which we supply the team and local members of the community. For us, the garden is a link with the land and the rhythms of the seasons.

We hope that those who visit will enjoy discussing and engaging with our growing processes, so that we can all continue to learn from each other about how we can grow more sustainably. Taking a regenerative approach to how we treat the earth is critical, whether on our own doorstep or working with those further afield.

4.   OUR PHILOSOPHY

We strongly believe that the farming practices informed by the agro-ecological principles that we support will maintain and improve soil fertility, for generations to come. As part of this philosophy, we champion organic growing - organic growing practices work with nature, not against it. We certify our organic flours through the Soil Association. For a product or farm to be certified as an organic producer, the production process must meet a strict set of legally defined standards. The continued application of these standards is
closely monitored. Within the UK the largest and most widely known of the certification bodies is the Soil Association.

According to the Soil Association, organic farming methods can help to slow down climate change and regenerate soils; if Europe’s farmland all followed organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40-50% by 2050, with plenty to feed the growing population healthy diets. Organic farmlands are also home to up to 50% more wildlife, store more carbon, have healthier soils, and around 75% more wild bees, as well as reducing exposure to pesticides.

Source: Why Organic? | Soil Association

How we treat the earth goes beyond our own operations and the farming practices of those we work with.

To this end, we have commenced work at Torosay Hills on the Isle of Mull, to plant 750,000 native broadleaf trees as part of the regeneration of a Celtic rainforest that once stood upon those hills. The forest regeneration will contribute to carbon sequestration, more biodiversity, and healthier soils. You can read more about our project : www.torosay.org

5.    THE GRAINS

Being small, we search out the very best quality grains that we can source, often only available in small quantities. We work with a network of farmers and growers who share our beliefs, both close to home and around the world, all who contribute something to the finished product beyond taste alone. It is part of our mission to encourage and engage with the cultivation and preservation of rare and/or old varieties of wheat, to help preserve biodiversity. Some farmers we work with have found that by growing wider genetic varieties of grains and enhancing the crops genetic diversity has made these crops better able to adapt to climate change, and hardier than some of the modern, single variety crops.

It is now recognised that growing such crops along agro-ecological principles also has a positive effect on nutrition. Simply by being less intensively farmed, the plants have larger and more robust root systems, are more drought resistant, and have greater micro-nutrient and mineral content as there are less plants per square metre and therefore less competition for available resources. There is also the reduced requirement for extra fertilisers and weed killers that are energy inefficient and environmentally damaging.

6. BREAD AND THE COMMUNITY

John Lister founded a charity called Breadwinners in 2016, which is supported by Shipton Mill. Breadwinners’ goal is to help create a community where refugees can thrive in the UK. Breadwinners offers three employability programmes in London and Brighton to support refugees into work. It offers a chance for employment, mentoring experience, networking and entrepreneurship opportunities. The aim is to help refugees independently sustain themselves and progress. 90% of the refugees who have completed the Breadwinners programme have gone on to find employment.