Berney Arms Windmill

The High Mill at Berney Arms, standing at the head of Tile Kiln Reach is one of the highest in the Norfolk Broads and can be seen for miles around. Thought to have been built in the latter half of the 19th Century, probably around 1870, the mill was erected to grind cement but was more recently used for draining the surrounding marshes. The large scoop wheel outside the tower is evidence to this use.
The mill itself is just over 70ft (21m) high with the span of the sails being approximately the same. In the year 2000, the sails were removed for replacement and after a very long wait, it's only now in 2007 that things appear to be progressing in getting them back on again. With the sails in place the mill should once again be seen in working order, the sails turning and the internal mechanism moving.

  Picture Gallery (Click on picture for larger view)
    Early view of mill
This view dates from the mid 20th century and shows the mill with its sails and the cottages in the background.
(c1947 - Hallam Ashley)
    Berney Arms mill in the 1950s
A good view of the mill at a time when holidays on the broads and rivers were becoming popular. The curve of the river is clearly visible at this point.
(c1950s - Ministry of Works)
Displaying its sails in all their glory, Berney Arms Mill stands tall on a beautiful Spring morning. The scoop wheel can also clearly be seen on its Eastward side.
(March 1989 - Andrew Barton)
    Summer boat traffic at Berney Arms
The heavy boating traffic moors up against the mill waterfront whilst the mill tower turns its fantail towards the river. (Mid 1990s - Mark Healy)
    Berney Mill at sunset
Set against a glorious sunset the high mill at Berney Arms makes an imposing sight.(Early 1990s - Mark Healy)
    Scoop wheel
Powered by the turning sails and used to drain the surrounding marshes, the scoop wheel is driven by a horizontal shaft by means of an iron pinion and internally geared ring. The wheel sits inside a closely fitting brick culvert and when turning served to scoop the water from the lower level of the marsh into the river.
(July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
    Scoop wheel close-up
A close-up view of the paddles inside the scoop wheel housing. The driving shaft from the mill tower can be seen on the left. (August 15th 2004 - Andrew Barton)
Laying forlornly to the North side of the mill tower the old sails await replacement, intended for completion later in the year 2000. (July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
    Mill with abandoned sails
Mill tower and scoop wheel in the background with the abandoned sails awaiting replacement. On the left near the shed the fantail assembly can also be seen.
(July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
    Sail-less tower
View up to the top of the mill tower showing the cap with the staging for the fantail, temporarily removed along with the main sails. The fantail, or fly, is used to keep the main sails facing directly into the wind to achieve maximum power. The vertical tailpole which serves to guide the striking chain can also be seen. The striking chain controls the opening and closing of the sail vanes by means of connecting irons and cranks allowing the mill to be governed for speed.
(July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
    Cap mechanism
Looking up into the cap the main windshaft can be seen running right to left. This shaft is the one on which the sails rotate, conveying their power via gears to the upright shaft which runs up the centre of the tower. At the base of the mill other gears are used to turn the drive through 90° in order to drive the scoop wheel.
(July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
Stacked up inside the mill tower the vanes await re-use on the new sails. (July 23rd 2000 - Andrew Barton)
    The fantail returns
After seven years as a shadow of its former self, it looks like things are starting to happen at last. The fantail has now arrived on site and awaits erection by millwright company R. Thompson & Son of Lincolnshire.
(April 12th 2007 - Andrew Barton)
    The fantail in position
The fantail has now been erected on the tower and the mill awaits the return of the stocks and sails.
(April 22nd 2007 - Dave Rogers)
    The main sails are back on site
At long last the main stocks and sails have reappeared on site in preparation for installation on the mill.
(May 13th 2007 - Dave Rogers)
    The first sails are in place!
It's been a long time coming but the first pair of main sails are hoisted into position with the help of a large crane. (May 23rd 2007 - Sheila & Paul Hutchinson)
    They're back!
After seven long years, the windmill at Berney Arms has at last taken on its rightful appearance as both pairs of sails are back in position. (June 2nd 2007 - Dave Rogers)