A Milestone for our Milling

We are delighted to announce that our windmill has just taken delivery of its 50th ton of grain.

We have been milling grain in the traditional manner – between rotating stones, driven by the  wind – at Heage windmill since our first trial product emerged from the chute on the 4th of July 2003.

Then followed a series of trials and testing until we were ready to offer our products for sale at the windmill.

We ordered our first batch of grain to be used commercially in March 2004 and the demand for our product has grown steadily since then.

Our first sack of flour was milled by the late Mac Mumford and was bagged and sold on 28th of March 2004.

We only sell our flour at the mill or Bakewell Farmers’ Market, and all our milling is carried out by our specially trained volunteer millers.

We received the 50th ton of grain in 25 kilo sacks.  All  bags of our flour from this batch will carry a specially designed label marking that it comes from our 50th ton.

The 49 tons  of flour already produced  have resulted in a net  income over 15 years of about £50,000, at an average of about £3,500 a year.

All profits from the sale of flour have been used to help maintain the mill over the years.

We hope that Heage Windmill will continue to produce its much loved flour for many years to come.


Six Sails On

Photo by Andrew Evans of f22 Aerial Images

Heage Windmill is looking more like herself again as the two new sails were hoisted into position on the morning of the 6th November.

The weather was calm which was perfect for the task.

These two sails were assembled by the maintenance team under the skilful leadership of David Land, the Maintenance Manager.


The project has taken approximately 750 hours of volunteer labour.

Nicholls Engineering of Heage were on site helping the team both when the old sails were removed and when the two new ones were attached.

The firm have great experience in engineering projects and have worked on Heage Windmill before, so sincere thanks are extended to them.

Constructional Timber of Barnsley supplied and delivered the laminated pieces of wood (84 in total) for the sails.

These arrived at Heage Windmill back in the spring and the team have spent the summer assembling the new sails.

This included coating all the pieces with sealer followed by undercoating and glossing – 2 coats of each. The shutters were removed from the old sails, washed, repainted and transferred to the new ones.

Alan Eccleston, Chair of the Trust, said that the Trustees wished to thank the dedicated team of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to make this possible.

Italian Cars Visit

In spite of other attractions last Sunday, like a certain Cricket World Cup Final, visitors thronged to see a collection of varied Italian cars on display at Heage Windmill.

Red 1970 Fiat 500, owned by Mr & Mrs Byrne from Derby, namerd Best Italian Car. The award was presented by Attila Corsoba (left) from Coffee N Cars

Some 45 cars on display included Fiats, Alfa Romeos, Abarths, Ferraris, and Lancias.  One car that drew the eye was a rare red 1972  ‘Justino’ made by Ferrari, which had raced at Le Mans.   

A black Abarth 595 Trofeo 1.4 turbo , owned by Rich & Cid from Nuneaton, was named Best Abarth. Attila Corsoba (left) of Coffee N Cars presented the award

Awards were made for the Best in Show along with the Best Abarth model. 

A great day was enjoyed by all and we hope to see the Italian cars again next year. 

Project Sails On!

Our windmills two replacement sails are now scheduled to be up and turning by the end of September.

Fitting one of eight arms on Sail B

The story so far… Having found that two sails at Heage windmill needed to be replaced due to wood rot, the Trust made enquires seeking replacements. There are few millwrights able to carry out such work and our enquires showed that the cost would be around £60,000 and delivery would be about 2 years.  This was not acceptable to the Trust as we wished to return to our normal 6 sail display as soon as possible.

The frame of Sail E being assembled

The volunteers at the mill felt they were capable of making the replacements themselves and that we were able to obtain suitable  pre-cut wooden members from Constructional Timber of Barnsley  for less than a third of the above quote.  The two offending sails, weighing approximately 1 tonne each, were taken off and the part time work of assembling the new timber into sails was undertaken ‘in house’.  We found that no less than 84 pieces were needed for the pair of sails.  Also, each piece had to have any knots treated.  They pieces were then coated with sealer, carefully painted and assembled in a predetermined sequence.

Volunteers working on the back stay of sail E

The team agreed to carry out the work in our marquee on site and aimed to ensure work was carried out on a minimum of two full mornings a week.  To date, some 400 working hours have been expended and much experience gained.

Shows Sail E ready to have shutters fitted with sail B in back

In parallel, all the iron fittings from the old sails were removed and re-painted and the 40+ shutters washed and cleaned prior to them being transferred to the new sails.  The first replacement sail (sail E)  currently has all the sail bars and the frame in place and will soon be ready to accept the fitting of the 21 shutters taken from the old sail.  Due to space limitations, work on the second sail (sail B) could not start at the same time but presently the stage of sail E is such that the sail bays could be turned upright, creating enough space for the second sail to be started. Presently the angled sail bars are being fitted and work will continue in parallel.

Due to weather and holiday limitations we are expecting to be able to complete the assembly of the pair by the end of September and aim to fit them back soon after.

The cost of the work is being covered by money taken from the mill maintenance fund of Heage Windmill Society but, of course, donations will be most welcome as the cost is estimated at some £20,000 for materials alone. We are continuing to mill flour with four sails and our normal range of flour is still on sale at the mill.


Tractor Man opens 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. 



Morgan Cars Visit

It was a cool, but a mostly sunny day, with just enough wind to gently turn the windmill sails, when the first organised visit by Morgan Sports Cars club  arrived at  Heage Windmill on Sunday April 14th.

Some 30 cars, in a wide variety of colours and models, were displayed on the apron in front of the working windmill and were much admired by the many visitors to the site.

We learnt that Morgan cars were founded in 1909, and  have since achieved fame throughout the world due to their unique blend of charisma, craftsmanship and performance and it was easy to see why they were so well loved by their enthusiastic owners.

The Morgan Motor Company, based in Malvern, has evolved over 100 years into a true icon, a darling of the automotive industry and a brand synonymous with unrivalled excitement. The cars displayed true British craftsmanship and their owners are justly proud of their vehicles, regardless of their age.


Peter Straw Remembered

It is with great regret that Heage Windmill has to announce the death of Peter Straw who was Chairman of the Friends for 13 years, standing down in 2014 for health reasons.

When Peter and his wife Celia moved to the area, they went to an early meeting of the Friends of Heage Windmill. Shortly after this Peter was voted in as chairman and held the position for 13 years until he stood down as Chair at the 2014 AGM. He took up the post in 2002 which was when the Mill opened to the public. Peter had also been a Trustee for 10 years.

Not everyone will realise the amount of work that Peter did in the background, not just at the Mill itself but attending meetings far and wide to promote the organisation, always looking for opportunities to enhance the mill experience for visitors. Also, Peter was always more than happy to encourage visitors to make the most of their time in Derbyshire by visiting other local tourist attractions. Throughout he was well supported by his wife Celia.

Over the years he worked tirelessly for the Mill. He was very dedicated and enthusiastic in everything he did. He was very caring towards all volunteers and very good at getting the best out of people. The volunteers who worked alongside him had nothing but praise for Peter and they had never known him to lose his temper. He had a calming influence and was always happy to listen to those volunteers with problems.

Until he retired Peter was a regular guide at the Mill, making it come alive for the visitors. He also stood Bakewell Farmers’ Market on occasions on behalf of Heage Windmill.

Under Peter’s chairmanship the Mill gained and successfully retained the 5-star rating from Amber Valley Borough Council for Health and Hygiene.

Again, under Peter’s watch the Mill gained and successfully retained the Place of Interest Quality Assurance Scheme (PIQAS) status.

In his retirement from the Mill he still visited and supported all the events.

All the Friends and Trustees would like to extend their deepest sympathy to his widow, Celia plus all of his family.


Santa Day – Great Success

Ethan Wood and his dad say hello to Santa
Santa and his elf helper Lynne Allen arrived in a motorised sleigh

Sunday 2nd December dawned cloudy and a bit damp, but mostly dry and mild. This was important because Santa Claus was coming to Heage Windmill and  duly arrived at 11.00 am on a motorised sledge, (kindly loaned by Amber Valley Rotary Club) to be greeted by a crowd of happy and excited youngsters.

Helped by the mill’s head Elf (Lynn Allen), Santa soon made himself comfortable in his grotto on the ground floor of the windmill.

Toby, with his daddy Jack Davies from Fritchley, met Santa on his way to the grotto.

The excited children were able to see Santa in turn (as result of a numbered ticket scheme which worked very well) and during his visit he saw over 130 children, each of whom received a specially

Inside Santa’s Grott with Phil and Karen Mulchinock and their daughters Rose and Daisy

wrapped present from Santa. As he rested afterwards he said ‘They were the best set of children I have seen this year!’

During the day over 500 visitors came to the mill and enjoyed the entertainments and refreshments available in the nearby marquee, and in the mill undercroft.

To pass the time waiting to see Santa, there were various games to play, raffles and food, including a very popular hot food van providing a range of food to suit all tastes.

They were also entertained by members of the Notts and Derby Rock Choir , suitably bedecked in Santa hats, who sang many seasonal songs.

Miller for the Day

Neil opens the shutters to start the mill turning

Neil Oates from nearby Ripley is our latest Miller for the Day, ‘an experience I really enjoyed’ says retired headmaster Neil.

For his Miller for the Day gift, Neil was guided by a team of three qualified millers who were stocking up on flour for mill.

Neil Oates with the first of the flour he helped produce

Neil first learnt how to start and stop the mill and to control the speed of the sails.  He then assisted in the stone milling of some 125 kg of flour, using wind power to drive the stones – a really environmentally friendly process.

At the end of the day, Neil went home with a bag of flour he had helped produce and a certificate recording the occasion. He says it was a day he will never forget.

For details on how to become a ‘Miller for the Day’ click here


Cobweb Time

The leaves are falling, the nights are drawing in and there are cobwebs visible almost every morning… it’s cobweb time again at Heage Windmill, signalling the time when we close for the rest of season and give our hard-working volunteers a chance to have a rest – until next Easter at least!

It has become traditional at Heage Windmill to make a large cobweb (out of elastic), the size of which is determined by the number of ‘spinners’ who come along and help produce ‘the web of the year’ – under the guidance of our master spinner Lynn Allen.

This year we start spinning at 12 noon on Sunday 28th October and invite anyone who would like to try their hand to come and join us make the biggest web ever!

The mill will then be closed from  4-00 pm for our normal weekend opening until next Easter.

However, as part of the Derwent Valley Discovery Days we have arranged a special opening on Wednesday, October 31st when we will be open for tours from 10-0 am until 3-00 pm.