Wind back in the sails of popular Thaxted tourist attraction

ONE of Uttlesford’s most popular attractions has finally got the wind back in its sails after a major restoration project.

Grade II* listed Thaxted Windmill has been without sails since disaster struck on Easter Monday 2010 – one of the stocks holding the sail frames broke in the canister box, forcing one sail to come crashing down through the gallery.

However, a specialist millwright this week installed four new sails, the assembly of which took the best part of a day on Wednesday.

Although there are some finishing touches to be made – the millwright will be back on site next week to fix and balance the sails so that they can freely turn in the wind – the Thaxted Windmill Trust is hopeful the windmill could be fully up and running by the end of this month.

Len Farren, honorary secretary of the trust, said: “It is vitally important to maintain the historical features of Thaxted and the windmill is a great tourist attraction for the town and Essex. There are not many working windmills left in the country.

“It has remained open to the public over the last two years, although it has looked like a pepperpot. When people drive through the town and see the sails, especially if they are turning, they are more likely to stop and have a look.

“Trustees have worked extremely hard for a long time and it has been a long haul. It ‘s good to see it come to fruition.”

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The �60,000 project has been two years in the making. Trustees sought funding for the repairs and approached a number of charities. Viridor Credits, Stansted Airport Community Trust, Essex Environmental Trust, and Essex Heritage Trust all offered support and with other Thaxted charities and donations the necessary funding was put in place for the work to be done.

Millwright, Tom Davies, of Thompson & Sons, has been on site this week erecting the sail frames – some 78ft long and 8ft wide and weighing in excess of two tonnes.

The two new stocks are made of laminated larch, sourced in Siberia, which were sent to Denmark for laminating and then to the Millwright in Lincoln for drilling and painting.