On the first day of September, a beautiful dry day brought a host of tractors and a stream of visitors to see them.
While several tractors were completely restored, some were in their original state. On display was a wide variety of makers, plus a gleaming steam engine and an assortment of stationary engines, all in steam. A great favourite for the children was a working scale model steam engine with a trailer behind.
The winner of the Tractor Day certificate for the Best Tractor of the Day was Dave Watson with his Fordson Super Major (see below). Also pictured are John Allsopp on the left presenting the certificate with a trophy being presented by Joe Hancock (in the middle).
The little boys enjoying the day are Thomas (left) and Reuben on a Grey Fergie – tractor drivers of the future, perhaps.
All photographs are by Anthony Sharp.
There was enough wind to turn the sails of the 222-year-old windmill and a large number of people enjoyed guided tours and learned how her machinery produced flour. Event organiser Lynn Allen said ‘It’s been a great day and thank you to the exhibitors for coming and supporting the Mill – we are always glad to welcome them to Heage.’
There was a hot food van on site plus the ever popular Bric-Brac stall. All profits from the day will go to the upkeep and maintenance of the windmill.
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.
Tractor Day at Heage on Sunday 23rd September started on a grey, cool and damp morning but the sun eventually came out as we welcomed a stream of tractors and their ephemera.
The poor start to the day did not deter some 35 assorted makes to find their way to Heage Windmill and many people came along to admire and pore over them.
It was amazing to see how the owners had managed to get 70 year old machines, which had worked hard all their lives, back to such superb condition.
Of particular interest was a green Fordson Standard, dating back to 1943 which, unusually, towed a ‘living van’ in which the driver had spent his ‘spare’ time when the tractor was not actually working!
John Allsop, who coordinates the tractor group, came on his 1947 Fordson Major whilst his daughter Libby was alongside on her 1952 Fordson Major.
John said ‘Tractors run in my family’s blood and we just love coming to this wonderful site at the windmill’.
The winner of the best tractor of the day was judged to be an International Farm All F12 dating back to 1936 and owned by David Land, who received a certificate and a small trophy.
The bric a brac, tombola and burger stalls did great trade and there were many who took a tour round the 220-year-old windmill which still stone grinds the popular grades of flour, simply powered by the wind.
All profits from the day will go to Mill funds so thank you to all who supported the event.
On a pleasant, some time sunny day, with a steady wind to turn the sails, Heage Windmill entertained a multifarious collection of 39 tractors.
They were supported by a restored 1920s steam traction engine* which itself was backed up by two (3” to a foot) working scale models of steam tractors – both of which were giving rides to children – old and young.
A surprise visitor was a wartime restored 1942 25lb Howitzer Gun, towed by a 1943 Morris C8. We have never had such a large weapon on site before!
We also had about a dozen portable steam engines on site, all in working order. These, together with tractors, helped to replace horses on farms over the last 100 years.
There were a very large number of visitors to the site who enjoyed the veteran machines, with many taking on the mill tours where our guides explained the history of the mill and how it worked. They also took full advantage of our bric a brac stall and came away with bargains galore.
All in all – a great day for everyone.
*The Garratt Traction Engine, owned by David Bosworth from Smalley, was built in 1920. She is called ‘Queen Mary’, as named when built, and was first used for moving goods, mainly timber, along public roads. Powered by coal and water, she would travel up to 15 miles before she needed more water, even though she could hold up to 250 gallons.
Tractor day at Heage Windmill on Sunday September 4th was a roaring success, and even the sun came out later in the day.
Some two dozen carefully restored tractors – of a variety of well known makes – were lined up in the paddock area and visitors were able to examine, discuss and in some cases sit on them!
We were also pleased to be able to fly, for the first time, the 2016 Flag of Excellence , provided by Trip Advisor, marking our second year in that category as a tourism site.
The Nunsfield House radio club were in attendance and were making contact with other amateur radio stations round the world.
They had some special news to impart: one of their members who was on site, Stephan Latimer, was the winner of a prize draw made at the mill, at noon. His prize, a week in a holiday cottage in Belper, had been donated by local man, Barry Lewis, and all proceeds have gone into the mill repair fund TAMA (Trouble at the Mill).
Also on the day, we were presented with a scale model of the windmill, made by Mr Michael Nunns, which took 8 months to make and used approximately 5,500 match sticks.
This excellent model will be on regular display at the mill.
The ever popular bric a brac stall was particularly busy and, again, proceeds went to the mill repair funds. Keeping a 220 year old Grade 2* listed machine in working order needs a lot of money!
Heage Windmill celebrated National Mills Weekend, co-ordinated by SPAB (Society for Protection of Ancient buildings), by staging its always popular Tractor Day.
The sun shone all day so it was pleasantly warm for the big crowd of visitors who came to the mill.
On site was a very wide range of some 30 vintage tractors, most of which had been lovingly restored.
There was also a large gathering of stationary engines, some of which were working.
In a tent, the Nunsfield Radio club was hard at work, making contact with numerous other similar groups located at other mills also open over the weekend.
In addition the Friends of Heage Windmill ran a fund raising bric a brac stall which attracted a lot of interest and helped the restoration funds.
Also on display were the refurbished sails, waiting to be fitted, and some of the large rotten timbers which had caused the mill to stop working and producing flour.
Replacements have already been fitted and although some more work still is needed, it is getting closer to the date when the sails will turn again.
Heage Windmill is open every Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday from April to the end of October, 11am to 4pm. For Admission Prices, Details of Group and School Visits and Where to Find us, click here >
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