Historic Heage Windmill’s sails placed in ‘hibernation’, as restoration project gathers pace

The windmill's sails laid are out in the dry workshop, where they will be refurbished and painted.

The windmill's sails laid are out in the dry workshop, where they will be refurbished and painted.

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Heage Windmill’s familiar six sails have gone into hibernation - as work to restore the historic landmark gathers pace.

During a five-hour operation last Thursday, a large team of volunteers transported the recently removed sails, each weighing approximately one ton, from the mill site to a nearby dry workshop.

The sails are loaded onto the JC Balls lorry ready to leave the mill site.

The sails are loaded onto the JC Balls lorry ready to leave the mill site.

The operation was assisted by free use of a hiab lorry and driver, fitted with its own integral crane and owned by local company J C Balls.

But it was not all plain sailing, as Allan Gifford, trustee of Heage Windmill Society, explained.

“The workshop door was too small to allow the lorry to enter, so each sail had to be craned off and lowered onto a small trolley and with lots of hands, and ropes, was pushed inside,” he said.

“There each sail was jacked up to free the trolley and lowered on its side onto pre-set supports.

Volunteers carefully move one of the sails into the workshop.

Volunteers carefully move one of the sails into the workshop.

“They will now be examined and any remedial work required determined before the sails are cleaned and painted.”

Removal of the sails marked the first phase of work to make key structural repairs to the landmark caused by wet rot.

The sails are expected to stay in the workshop for the next three months before being returning to the mill site.

Removal of the sails from Heage Windmill

Removal of the sails from Heage Windmill