In recognition of bringing Tractor Days to Heage Windmill, John Allsop was invited to officially open the mill for our 2019 season.
In what was probably the warmest opening day since the windmill was restored in 2002, John made his entrance in fitting fashion by driving his Fordson Tractor down the track to the windmill, escorted by two other tractors, driven by local men David Hornsey and John Gould.
They were welcomed by a large gathering of people , including Alan Eccleston, Chairman of Heage Windmill Society, and Cllr. Angela Ward, Chair of Friends of the Windmill.
Alan welcomed everyone present and thanked in particular the team of volunteers who make the mill such a great attraction.
He introduced John Allsop, who was born and bred in Heage and has had a long standing love of the mill. It was John who, many years ago, suggested he organised a tractor rally at the mill. This has blossomed into memorable and well-supported Tractor Days which have greatly helped support the mill.
Angela spoke on behalf of Friends and mentioned the continuing need for more volunteers to help maintain the high standards set at the mill.
Alan then invited John to cut the yellow ribbon. In doing so doing, he said he sincerely hoped the mill would enjoy a great season and that that weather would be kind throughout.
This Sunday, Heage Windmill will again be visited by a large collection of vintage Tractors.
These machines displaced the horse as the motive power for farms and similar activities and now they are themselves being regarded as ‘collectables’. They will stand displayed adjacent to our 222-year-old wind machine!
Tractors will include 60-year-old Fordsons and Massey Fergusons. John Allsop, who organises the Tractor group, said: ‘We are always happy to come to the windmill’.
The tractors will be supported by some stalls, including a burger van and, if the weather permits, our now quite famous bric-a-brac stall, where one person’s junk becomes someone else’s treasure!
The tractors will arrive from about 10-30 am and will be with us until around 3-30. The mill will, of course, be open for guided tours.
All funds raised will go to the upkeep of the Mill.
Aimee Bedward from Birmingham – a dedicated mill enthusiast – was given the ideal birthday gift by her friend Phil: a ‘Miller for the Day’ experience.
This enabled Aimee to enjoy a day’s training and activity at Heage Windmill, including milling some grain.
Under the supervision and guidance of millers Anthony Sharp and Tim Castledine, Aimee first started the sails turning, to the delight of watching visitors.
The sails turned for about an hour requiring her to make frequent adjustments in a variable wind. It was then decided to introduce Aimee to the process of milling. She successfully milled 20 Kg of excellent quality Wholemeal Flour.
Later Aimee was in the cap (at the top) of the mill to close the Mill down or, as we say, ‘put the old lady to bed’.
Aimee said she had had ‘a simply amazing day’.
Fancy being a Miller for the Day or gifting someone that experience? Click here to find out more…
The weekend of May 13/14 is National Mills weekend, organised by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), when our windmill will be one of the hundreds of wind and water mills throughout the country which will open its doors to visitors, many of which are not normally accessible to the public.
The theme this year is ‘Engineers and Engineering’ and so, apart from the marvellous old machinery to behold in our 220 year old windmill, we will be welcoming dozens of vintage cars – old power in plenty indeed!
The cars, which are taking part in a rally, will be of assorted makes and models displaying the early motoring technology which led to the well engineered and reliable vehicles most people drive today.
There will be a steady stream of them arriving throughout the day, starting from 9-00am and continuing until 4-00 pm, although a core of them will be on site all day.
It will be something like a lucky dip as to what will be there at any particular time, depending how long one stays on site.
Throughout the weekend radio clubs from all over the UK will be based at windmills and water mills, seeking to make contact with other mills in this country and across the world. Over the entire weekend we will once again be hosting the Nunsfield Amateur radio Club, based in Derby, who will set up a temporary transmission station and will try to carry the name ‘Heage Windmill’ to the far corners of the world.
The windmill, of course, will be open for tours on both days , from 11-00 until 4-00 pm, with the last tour starting at 3-30 pm.
Major maintenance has now been completed at Heage Windmill. The mill was restored, with the aid of various grants, and much voluntary work, to enable it to open as a working windmill in 2002, producing stone ground flour in the traditional manner. For the first time since then, major work has been undertaken to ensure the secure operation of the mill in the future.
Neil, working from the ‘cherry picker’ and removing the sealing laths from the cap.
There are currently few millwrights in the UK able to undertaken the task of recovering the movable top of the mill (the cap) with heavy duty canvas and then repainting it to ensure a durable covering . We have been able to secure the services of Neil Medcalf, who is based in Farlesthorpe, in Lincolnshire and who, despite adverse weather conditions, has now completed the task. He has also modified the mechanism which opens and closes the shutters, enabling a tighter seal when closed and thus improving the available power we can obtain from the wind.
We hope that this work , which has been 100% funded from mill funds, will enable the mill to operate successfully for many years to come, maintaining its position as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Amber Valley district.
Heage Windmill is usually open to the public every Saturday and Sunday from Easter to the end of October, but is currently closed because of Covid-19. See home page for details>
Please note the wind speed. If it is more than 5 or 6 mph, then normally the sails will be turning.
Heage Windmill is owned by Derbyshire CC but is controlled and operated by Heage Windmill Society, a charitable organisation (Reg Charity No 1065980), to whom all profits from running the windmill are donated by the Friends to help ensure its continued preservation