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Heage Windmill

Heage, Derbyshire

Featured Location Guide

by Nikki Mahadevan Oct 2006

An attractive mill in a picturesque country setting

Heage windmill is a tower mill with six sails and fan tail and built of local sandstone and is over two hundred years old. Standing on the brow of a hill between the villages of Heage and Nether Heage in the district of Amber Valley. It overlooks the village of Nether Heage.

Heage windmill was built somewhen between 1791 and 1798.

An advertisement for a tradesman in the Derby Mercury of 16th June 1791,“Heage windmill is to be erected, any mason inclined to undertake the stone building to attend at the mill, all materials laid down in place.” In 1798:- “To be let – complete smock mill with fantail, two pairs of stones, good dressing machine – made to plans approved by Mr Wass – standing in good situation at Heage.”

Although this and other later adverts refer to it as a smock mill, rather than a tower mill, its not thought to have changed and its said that in this part of the country and time tower mills where often refered to as smock mills.

The squat stone built tower is 24 feet in diameter and has a stone plaque by the entrance door marked “WSM 1850”, - the significance of which is not clear, so perhaps changes were made at that time, and perhaps it was a smock mil before this point.

The mill is built on a small mound and an entrance below could have enabled carts to back right into the building for loading and unloading.

There was a small stone building, built after the mill, alongside the mill which was used as the kiln.  A kiln was often used to dry grain before it was ground into flour or oatmeal. One report suggested that a woman who entered the kiln to turn the corn was burnt to death when her clothes caught fire.  The roof of this kiln later fell in and for a long time only the shell remained.  This has now been restored and turned into the Visitor Centre.

A photograph taken before 1890 shows the mill with two common and two spring sales, a black ogee cap and a fantail which had 14 slim blades. It operated in this form until February 1894 when the mill was tail winded and the cap and four sails were blown off in a violent storm. Another photograph shows a man, presumably the miller, standing on the wreckage of the sails in front of the mill and the brake wheel protrudes from the top of the tower.

When rebuilt the four sails was replaced with six patent sails, presumably to obtain more power, although in other respects the mill was externally similar. The work was carried out by George Chell, a millwright from nearby Crich.

Click on images for larger version
See Larger Image
By John Poyser  
Feb 2008
See Larger Image

Heage Windmill
with new sails

Nikki Mahadevan Oct 2006

On the mills own site you can find far more details of the construction.

In 1919 the fan tail was severely damaged in a gale, most of the blades being lost. The damage was serious and with the economic situation of mills at that time, the mill closed down and became over the following years almost derelict. The mill was struck by lightning in 1961 and a photograph taken in 1967 shows only the remnants of the sails and a stub where the fantail and its staging had been. A preservation order (Number 1 by Derbyshire County Council under the 1962 Town and Country Planning Act) was placed upon the mill by Derbyshire County Council who bought the mill for £350 and the mill was then listed "Grade II*" on the 27th May 1966.

Over the next few years partial restoration, but not to full working order, was carried out by the millwrights Thompsons of Alford in Lincolnshire and new floors, sails, cap and fantail were made. New sails went up on the 15th March 1972 followed by the the fantail three days later. However, subsequently, ongoing maintenance was lacking and the mill slowly deteriorated. The Midlands Mills Group became involved as guides on open days in the 1980's and recognised that much work was urgently needed to prevent further decay. They initiated some repairs, local people became involved and the Heage Windmill Society was formed in 1996. With large grants, and much voluntary work, the mill was restored to working order in 2002, complete with a new access road off Chesterfield Road together with a car park. The mill was opened in June that year and is now open to the public every weekend, from Easter until the end of October. She has since become a major tourist attraction in the area.

The mill is still owned by Derbyshire County Council but they lease it to the Heage Windmill Society who are now responsible for all care and maintenance. Recent major works carried out the the society include replacing some sales, resurfacing the apron in front of the mill, repainting the cap by a professional millwright.

All visitors to the mill are taken round by trained guides who explain the workings and history of the mill.

Some of the parts to restore it came out of Hewitts Mill in Lincolnshire.

Further information Grid



Heage Windmill, Heage, Derbyshire

Ceremonial County: Derbyshire

Grid Reference:

SK367507  OS Sheet – 119

Map Link:

Google Map

Aerial photo:  



Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

Mills open   WW    LB

Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  


Planning Grid


Heage Windmill, Heage, Derbyshire

Grid Reference:

SK 367507

Getting there:

About 2 miles north of Belper. From A38 take A610 west. Follow brown signs from village.




Free car park on site off the Chesterfield Road.



Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:



Chesterfield Road




DE56 2BH


01773 853579
Parties 01773 715177

Opening times:

April to end of October

Sat, Sun and Bank Holidays Mondays 11am-4pm

Last tour starting 3:30pm

Parties by arrangement.


Adult £4; Concessionary £3.50; Child (5-16) £1.50; Under 5 Free

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Very steep stairs to the upper parts of the mill.
Special Needs Facilities:  
Children Facilities:  
Dogs Allowed:  

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

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By: Keith Park Section: Windmill Section Key:
Page Ref: Heage Topic: Windmills Last Updated: 03/2015


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