Back to the future…extending a 222-year operating life

05 July 2019


Last week, the team over at Norton Straw underwent an exciting trip to the 222-year-old Heage Windmill. Set in beautiful Derbyshire countryside, it is now the only functioning six-sailed stone tower windmill in England and was lovingly restored back in 2002.

However, the restoration team have recently been struggling with some technical difficulties concerning the rotation of the turret and are keen to understand where the problem lies. Consequently, we sent along some of our team of mechanical and structural engineering experts to see how the windmill was designed and what could be the issues; we are hoping to be of aid!

In addition, we are also delighted to be industrial supervisors to an upcoming investigation, by a student at The University of Nottingham, into the aerodynamic performance of the windmill and the effects of the surrounding topography. The Masters degree project will use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate the local wind flows and forces driving the windmill blades. Norton Straw will provide guidance via its team of fluid dynamics and wind engineering experts.

The project supervisor at The University of Nottingham is Dr David Hargreaves – who is soon to take on the role of Chair for the UK’s Wind Engineering Society.

The Heage Windmill is a definite must-see site for the amazing design, fantastic views and ingenuity taken to harness the wind for power; something we humans forgot for close-on 200 years!

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