Norfolk windmill gets new sails

David BlackmorePeople passing a historic mill today might be forgiven for thinking they had travelled back in time to the 19th century.David Blackmore

People passing a historic mill today might be forgiven for thinking they had travelled back in time to the 19th century.

In a reminder of a bygone age when windmills ruled the skyline, Denver Mill has been given a new lease of life with two new sails installed.

The iconic landmark, one of the country's last working windmills , had two 'rotten and dangerous' sails removed last June - leaving the mill virtually redundant - but now the tourist attraction could run at full power again by the weekend.

Mark and Lindsay Abel, who rent the six storey building from the Norfolk Historic Buildings Trust (NHBT), spoke of their delight yesterday afternoon while watching the mill receiving the facelift.

Grinning from ear to ear, Mrs Abel, said: 'It's absolutely fantastic. We have been waiting almost a year and it's great to see it looking like a windmill again.

'It's so exciting to see it looking pretty again because it had looked strange only having two sails and anyone driving past here must have thought this was just another broken windmill.

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'These two new sails are going to make a huge difference and bring the windmill to life.'

Mr Abel added: 'There hasn't been a day go past since the rotten and dangerous sails came down without someone asking what was happening and if we were closing.

'To have a full set of sails again is brilliant. We want to get the shutters in place by the weekend and then we can start running at full power again. There is nothing like the smell and sound once it's going.'

Denver Mill has towered over the Fens south of Downham Market since 1835. The windmill was given to the county in 1969 and sold to the NHBT by Norfolk County Council before the Abels took over the mill complex in 2008 to promote and preserve traditional country life.

Millwright Vincent Pargeter carried out the dangerous job of putting the sails in place after strapping himself to the frames and being lifted 50 foot in the air by crane.