Heckington Windmill gets new sails

Heckington Windmill in Lincolnshire, the UK’s only surviving eight-sailed windmill, will soon be operational again.

Originally built as a five-sailed mill in 1830, Heckington was converted to an eight-sailed mill after a severe thunderstorm in 1892 blew off the cap and sails.

Since 1981 the mill has been operated by the Friends of Heckington Windmill, although it is owned by Lincolnshire County Council.

In 2010, severe rot was found in the sails, and the mill had to be shut down while the sails were repaired.

Mill manager Jim Bailey expects the new sails to be back on the mill in the next two to three months. He said: “It’s a very exciting year for us. We grind wheat that’s grown by a local Heckington farmer, which we cut and thresh in the traditional way, and produce white and wholemeal flour. We’ve already had enquiries from local bakers and restaurants about when the mill will be able to start grinding again.

“We’ve also had discussions with a micro-brewery on the site about milling barley for them – I’m dressing one of the stones now to grind barley instead of wheat. And we’ve used the down time to train more volunteer millers to show visitors how we grind flour.”

The Friends of Heckington Windmill are also working on a Heritage Lottery Fund bid to buy and restore the buildings associated with the mill and mill yard, including a 14-acre field on which they can grow their own wheat.

We wish them the very best of luck with their restoration plans!

For more information, see Heckington Windmill website.

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