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Berney Arms Windmill removed from heritage weekend event due to water damage

PUBLISHED: 15:11 08 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:11 08 May 2017

Berney Mill

Berney Mill

Archant

A windmill that dominates the landscape in a remote stretch of the Norfolk Broads has been forced to pull out of a national heritage event.

Berney Arms Mill had been due to open its doors on Sunday for National Windmills Weekend but due to water damage to its leaky cap and faulty electrics it has been taken off the schedule.

The seven floor building, which is reachable by train and is in between Great Yarmouth and Norwich, is owned by English Heritage and had been due to be opened under an arrangement with the Royal Society of Protection for Birds, which runs RSPB Berney Marshes.

As well as Sunday’s event other open days planned for the foreseeable future have been cancelled.

A spokesman for English Heritage said: “Due to the heavy rain over the last couple of months, Berney Arms Mill will unfortunately not be open to visitors this weekend.

“Heavy rain has made surfaces slippery and affected the electrics, so in the interest of visitor safety we have decided to close the site until further notice.

“We are making arrangements to replace the roof as soon as possible to ensure it remains water tight for the future. We are sorry for any disappointment caused but the care of our sites and safety of our visitors are our priority.”

Shirley Hutchinson is one of four volunteers who last year showed people around the mill in a trial arrangement with the RSPB.

Her grandfather Henry Hewitt, nicknamed ‘Yoiton’, was the last marsh-man to operate the drainage mill, which became redundant in 1949.

Mrs Hutchinson, who has written the book Berney Arms Past and Present, said that at last year’s open days 100 people turned up at one and it was “shame” those scenes would not be repeated this weekend.

The mill was built about 1865 and stands 70 feet high.

In recent years the building only opened to groups by special arrangements.

For information on Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire wind and water mills taking part in this weekend’s National Windmills Weekend visit www.nationalmillsweekend.co.uk/

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