Heage Windmill is prominently situated on the brow of a hill between the villages of Heage and Nether Heage in the district of Amber Valley. Over 200 hundred years old and built of local sandstone, it is a Grade II listed tower mill with six sails and fan tail. The stone tower is 24 feet in diameter and has a stone plaque by the entrance door marked 'WSM 1850' although the significance of this is not clear.
The first indication of the construction of a mill appeared in the Derby Mercury, in June 1791, when a trade advertisement was placed for craftsmen to work on the construction of the mill. This was followed seven years later by an advertisement offering the mill to let. The windmill was last worked by miller Thomas Shore in 1919. After that the fortunes of the mill declined and by the 1930s drawings and photographs showed the sail bars hanging down in a neglected fashion.
In 1961, the mill was struck by lightning and by this time was in a sorry state of repair, when in the following year Derbyshire County Council placed a preservation order on it. The council bought the mill for £350pounds and it was listed 'Grade II*' on the 27 May 1966. Some repair work was carried out, but full restoration only commenced in September 2000. This continued until May 2002, and the mill was finally opening to the public the following month. This attracted large numbers of visitors who came to see the windmill, once again operational after it had stood idle for over 80years.
Much of the old wooden mechanism which drives one of the two pairs of millstones remains. In the basement , the interpretation centre tells the story of Heage Windmill, both in video and picture form. The adjacent kiln has been restored as a reception centre with toilets and a shop selling flour and souvenirs. There is wheelchair access to the ground floor of the windmill, the interpretation centre and the reception centre. Light refreshments are available, which you can consume while enjoying the stunning views. There is a large car park. For more information and details of special events visit - www.heagewindmill.co.uk.
"In 1996, a group of dedicated individuals in conjunction with Derbyshire County Council, formed the "Heage Windmill Society" (a registered charitable trust). They recognised that, unless further action was taken to ensure the continued care and attention in the near future, this important stone windmill could be lost forever.
The Society is largely made up of local and interested people who had the desire to restore the windmill to working order and to provide opportunities for the public to visit the mill." Heage Windmill Website.
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A Grade II listed building, is the only working, stone-towered, multi-sailed windmill in England. Milling takes place when conditions allow. There is normally a supply of flour available for sale. Guided tours. Special Events. Visitor Centre and shop. Costume. Excellent views. Light refreshments available. For further information (Tel. 01773 853579) or visit website - www.heagewindmill.co.uk.
PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE AREA
St. Johnís Chapel Heritage Centre: (Tel. 01773 822116) dates back to about 1250, contains an interesting collection of old photographs of Belper and memorabilia. Open weekdays 9.30am to 12.30pm. Also open the last Saturday in the month.
Derwent Valley Visitor Centre: (Tel: 01773 880474) situated in Strutt's, North Mill where superb displays of hand spinning wheels, Hargreavesís Spinning Jenny and many more exhibits bring this old mill back to life. Further information available (Tel. 01773 880474) The nearest Tourism Information Centre is at Ripley, which can be contacted on telephone number (01773 841488).
Midland Railway Centre, (Tel. 01773 570140) fine heritage railway offering a seven-mile trip through Amber Valley countryside. The Railway Museum containing a unique collection of restored locomotives and rolling stock: the Golden Valley Light Railway, miniature and model railways form only part of the many attractions. Telephone for details.
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