Owners of a 200-year-old stone windmill are celebrating after receiving grants of more than £70,000 to help conserve the building and provide a heritage visitor centre.
Wymondham Windmill, which attracts 35,000 visitors every year, has been given £36,500 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £34,500 from East Leicestershire LEADER to pay for a project billed as The Living Mill.
The Grade II listed building’s cap is to be lifted off to allow essential repairs to be carried out and a learning resource is to be set up telling the story of the mill and giving visitors the chance to learn traditional skills.
Sarah-Jayne Fletcher, who took over the windmill with husband Vincent five years ago, said: “We are thrilled to have received support for the project.
“As the mill’s owners we want to make sure it is here for future generations of Wymondham locals and the many visitors we get to this beautiful corner of Leicestershire.”
The renovation work, which is expected to be finished by next spring, will ensure the building is weather-tight and safe for people to visit.
It was built with five storeys in 1814 from local ironstone and topped with brick. The windmill, which is one of only four left in the country with six sails, ceased grinding corn in 1952 and cattle feed eight years later. It was worked by the ancestors of families who still live locally.
The windmill has been involved in the production of Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies during its two centuries and was once also home to a bakery, dairy, butchers, stables and a smithy.
As part of The Living Mill project, three generations of the Wymondham community will come together to tell the story of their mill.
Children from the village primary and pre-schools will be involved in interpreting the history of the building and help develop teaching and learning resources.
Jonathan Platt, head of HLF East Midlands, said: “The Wymondham Windmill is a rare surviving part of our agricultural heritage and a much-loved local landmark in the heart of the village.
“This support, made possible by National Lottery players, will not only conserve the windmill but will allow more people to learn about its importance and history for the first time.”
The Wymondham Windmill site now supports seven micro-businesses, including a tea room, and has a caravan park, children’s play area and wooodland on its seven-acre site.