WINCHESTER City Mill is expanding its work after enjoying a record-breaking 2012.

The historic mill ground wheat on a record 135 days last year, producing 14 tonnes of flour.

It attracted more than 40,000 visitors with the mill crediting the boom to TV-inspired home baking and interest in local food.

The flour is sold in National Trust shops and local bakers such as Oven Door at Fair Oak and Lainston House Hotel at Sparsholt.

The mill plans to increase the number of flour milling demonstrations in 2013 with milling every Saturday and Sunday plus bank holidays and additional sessions every Wednesday from mid-February till the end of October.

Miller Bob Goodwin said: “It is very important that we show traditional milling to more of our 40,000 annual visitors but this is only possible due to increasing demand for the flour and the hard work of our remarkable team of 25 volunteers.”

The strong flour is suitable for all forms of bread making but it is also milled to a fine grade for baking cakes, scones, cookies and tasty crumble toppings.

Volunteers will also stage monthly, themed baking demonstrations during 2013, encouraging visitors to try home baking, perhaps for the first time, using free recipe cards available at the mill.

A three-day baking and milling special is planned for families during the February half-term.

The wet weather and melting snow continues to ensure that the River Itchen provides ample free energy.

Strangely in 2012 the mill speed slowed at times due to too much water backing up downstream and millers also had to cope with debris from damage to banks and a greater than usual quantity of weed from annual cutting north of Winchester.

Mr Goodwin said: “Working with the raw power of the Itchen, with all its challenges and unpredictability, ensures that there’s never a dull moment volunteering at the mill.”