Vision to restore well-known Halvergate drainage pump and turn it into tourist attraction

The sun rises over the River Bure at the Stracey Arms windpump near Acle, NorfolkPicture: James Bass

The sun rises over the River Bure at the Stracey Arms windpump near Acle, NorfolkPicture: James BassFor: EDP Calendar - Credit: James Bass ©2003

Nestled between the River Bure and the Acle Straight, Stracey Arms Windpump is a familiar landmark for boaters and motorists alike. Now, an ambitious vision hopes to restore the well-known mill and transform it into a busy tourist attraction. Lauren Cope reports

Stracey Arms Mill.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Stracey Arms Mill.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Sat on the river bank, and just a stone's throw from the busy A47 and the railway, Stracey Arms is one of the most noticeable mills in Norfolk.

But passed by drivers in a rush, and in need of new sails, the grade II* drainage pump is often overlooked.

Now, a major scheme from the Norfolk Windmills Trust (NWT) hopes to unlock the Halvergate mill's history for visitors - and once again get the sails turning.

The plans - which rely on £670,000 of heritage lottery funding - would see an education centre for school trips added, repairs undertaken, a car park built and access for both drivers coming from the A47 and disabled people getting to the mill improved.

Mills and WatermillsStracey Arms MillDated 5 August 1961Photograph C1630 Gould

Mills and WatermillsStracey Arms MillDated 5 August 1961Photograph C1630 Gould


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David Gurney, historic environment manager at Norfolk County Council, said: 'Our vision for this wonderful drainage mill, which is the most visible mill in Norfolk – from the river, railway and road – is to see the mill repaired and its sails turning once again.

'It is also for local people and visitors to have better access to and to learn about the mill and its history, its landscape and the people who have lived and worked in that area.'

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Mr Gurney said displays would include stories from the mill's time as a pillbox, complete with gun ports, during the Second World War - while the team had hopes of reinstalling one of the loops at a later date.

The project has so far secured one round of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), with an application for the lion's share, the £670,000, currently being worked on.

A picture of Stracey Arms showing the gun loops used during the Second World War. Picture: Picture N

A picture of Stracey Arms showing the gun loops used during the Second World War. Picture: Picture Norfolk at Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

The NWT has also applied to the Broads Authority for the green light to go-ahead with the work at the mill, which is owned by Norfolk County Council and managed by the trust.

'There is still a lot of work to be done and we also need to raise some local match funding, so any offers of support would be very welcome,' Mr Gurney added.

• Do you have a tourism story for us? Email lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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