Repairs carried out at Whissendine Windmill

A new sail is hoisted into place at Whissendine's windmill. Photo: John Bedington EMN-160411-144101001

A new sail is hoisted into place at Whissendine's windmill. Photo: John Bedington EMN-160411-144101001

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Whissendine’s historic windmill is back in action after work to repair one of its huge wooden sails was completed.

The mill, which dates back to 1809, has been owned and operated since 1995 by 64-year-old Nigel Moon who uses it to produce a range of flours for sale to the public and trade.

When Nigel bought the mill, it had been out of action since 1922 when it was damaged during a storm. Today, it is in use seven days a week and mills around 40 tonnes of wheat every year.

Two weeks ago, one of the windmill’s four 34-feet long sails was replaced. A new sail had been handmade on site by Nigel, with help from friends. It was craned into place.

Nigel said: “The sail we replaced had decayed over a number of years. The mill has continued to operate under electric power while work to restore the sail took place.

“There’s still a bit of balancing to do, but it’s great to have the mill back in use.”

The windmill has an electric motor which can be used to keep the grindstones operating when the sails are not turning – meaning flour production did not stop during the repair work.

Electricity is bought from a renewable energy company.

Prior to moving to Whissendine, Leicester-born Nigel spent 20 years running a windmill in Soham, Cambridgeshire.

He said there are only around four windmills currently working full-time in the country, with a further 50 capable of doing so.

Nigel added: “I work long hours all week but it’s a lovely job. I’m helping to keep history alive.

“I’ve no regrets and if I had my time again I’d do the same again. I’ll keep going until I drop. People buy flour from me because they like to know where it came from. It’s all organic wheat.

“I sell to customers all over the country – including London, Liverpool and Yorkshire.”

The windmill was built in 1809 by the Earls of Harborough of Stapleford Park to replace an earlier windmill.