Photo gallery: New sails hoisted into place at Cley windmill

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 March 2014

Cley Windmill's new sails are prepared for fitting. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK

Cley Windmill's new sails are prepared for fitting. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK


An iconic landmark windmill on the north Norfolk marshes is looking at its best again after having a new set of sails fitted.

Cley Windmill facts

Cley Windmill dates back to the early 18th century

It was worked by the Burroughes family until about 1912

The mill was inherited by Lieut Col Hubert Blount, in 1934 - grandfather of soldier-turned-singer James Blunt - before passing on the celebrity’s father Col Charles Blount in 1979.

In the 1953 floods the mill was flooded to a depth of at least 8ft.

The mill has featured in a 1949 film Conspirator with Elizabeth Taylor, televised Ruth Rendell Mysteries, a David Bellamy’s natural history series, a BBC1 continuity link with a hot air balloon flying overhead - and the current Cbeebies children’s show Grandpa in My Pocket.

It has been holiday accommodation since the 1980s and currently has room for up to 24 guests, as well as hosting diners, weddings and house parties.

Contact, 01263 740209

Cley Windmill has featured in countless photos and paintings, movies, television shows and even a BBC link graphic between programmes.

Just last week it appeared in a picture of the Aurora Borealis taken by a local photographer - but with just empty wooden arms silhouetted against the stunning sky.

Now it has a full set of white sail vanes again - hoisted into place by a crane.

They will not turn, but the historic building - which has switched from milling to tourism for its trade - is now back to its former glory.

Cley Windmill new sails are fixed in place. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UKCley Windmill new sails are fixed in place. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK

Owner Carolyn Godlee, who took over the mill in 2006 with husband Julian, said: “We see ourselves as custodians of this very special landmark. The arrival of the new sails is a special day for us all.”

The team running the venue were “100% committed to the upkeep of this historic ‘old lady by the sea,” she added - with all profits from its hotel, dining and function business being ploughed back into its maintenance.

They were disappointed at being turned down for a Heritage Lottery grant towards the project - replacing “tatty and sad” sails last renewed in 1986.

The new sails should last another 25 years, she added.

Cley Windmill staff and builders celebrate the new sails. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UKCley Windmill staff and builders celebrate the new sails. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK

The vanes, along with a new fan-stage and walkway, were made by Buntings builders from Stibbard near Fakenham, who did nearby Weybourne mill seven years ago and Dereham mill last year.

Co-owner Daryl Bunting, 42, said the 10.5m Cley sails were made of pressure-treated redwood. Each took about two weeks to make and were put in place - fixed using metal bolts - using a cherry-picker and crane.

Mr Bunting from Great Ryburgh said the Cley Windmill was “iconic - so well-known and photographed” and the work was being done “not a moment too soon”. He was pleased more people got to appreciate the mill through its current use.

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