The UK’s oldest windmill reopens in Cambridgeshire

Visitors turning Bourn Windmill (Cambridgeshire ACRE)

A three-year project to restore the mill’s wooden tresses and foundations has completed in time for National Mills Weekend

A windmill dating back to the reign of King Henry VIII has reopened to the public after the completion of large-scale repairs.

Claimed to be the UK’s oldest windmill, an extensive rot was discovered at Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire in 2020, which was taking hold of its timber beams. A three-year project to save the mill began, supported by £150,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Alongside support from Historic England, The Pilgrim Trust, Marshall and conservation specialists, the mill’s supporting wooden tresses and brick foundations have been replaced.

The completion of the work means the structure was able to reopen this weekend, National Mills Weekend, when more than 300 windmills and watermills are usually open to the public to celebrate milling heritage.

Only 50 of this type of windmill, called a post-mill, remain in the UK. Bourn Mill is owned by Cambridge Past, Present and Future, and is cared for and opened to the public largely through the efforts of volunteers from the local community.

Graham Bruce, Joint Chair, Bourn Windmill Volunteers called the restoration a “truly a collaborative effort, involving an architect, structural engineer, millwright, carpenter and more.”

Robyn Llewellyn, Director, England, Midlands & East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are proud to have supported Cambridge Past, Present & Future in repairing and reopening this historically significant site, thanks to National Lottery players.”