The Iconic Windmills of Norfolk

The first post mill, Attlebrough Postmill, said to be built in Norfolk was in 1198, built by the 12th century wind pioneers. Most of the iconic Norfolk Broads windmills in England were built and used for both grinding corn/flour and drainage on the Norfolk Broads. Some have been renovated and are open to the public others are in private hands or have eroded with time and been demolished.

Iconic Norfolk Broads Windmills

The many windmills are now part of the Norfolk landscape. Back in the day there were many windmills. Norfolk still has a large number of windmills that still remain, the Norfolk Windmill Trust cares for 21 windmills across Norfolk including Stracey Arms Drainage Mill.

This windmill is easily accessible to visit with a number of mooring spots. There is a £2 GBP fee to go inside and all proceeds go towards maintaining the iconic structures for future visitors. Be careful on the many stairs and using the handrail to visit the upper areas for landscape views. The site is also home to a shop and cafe.

Norfolk Broads Windmills: Stacey Windpump, Norfolk
Stracey Arms Drainage Pump, Norfolk ©MDHarding

Windmills on the Norfolk Broads

With many of the windmills being used for drainage there are a number dotted along the picturesque and tranquil setting of the Norfolk Broads.

A great way to see these is by boat, cruising along gently at 4 mph with the canopy back, sun on your face and a gentle breeze winding through your hair.

Norfolk Broads Windmills: River Thurne Windmill
River Thurne Windmill ©MDHarding

Niche Escape

If visiting the Norfolk Broads why not take the opportunity to stay in one of Norfolk’s iconic windmills. The Cley Windmill has been refurbished to a comfortable bed and breakfast with impeccable service and attention to detail. Each of the rooms has views across the landscape and you can also access the balcony for 90% views in this historical building. It is an idyllic and tranquil location to relax and listen to the birds in the marshes, while reading a book in the manicured garden. Or why not take a stroll down to Cley Beach, along through the Marshes Nature Reserve to spot some of the local nature and wildlife or access to the coastal walking paths.

Norfolk Broads Windmills: Cley Windmill
Cley Windmill ©MDHarding

Norfolk Broads Windmills

The windmills come in all shapes and sizes.

Norfolk Broads Windmills: Windmill by the Ferry Inn, Horning
Windmill by the Ferry Inn, Horning ©MDHarding

Historical Windmills

St Benet’s Abbey Draining Mill is the oldest tower mill in Norfolk and the oldest in the Broads, with the first drawing dating back to 1818. It is thought that the mill originally crushed cole seed to make colza oil for lamps before being converted into a drainage pump.

Norfolk Broads Windmills: St Benet's Abbey Drainage Mill
St Benet’s Abbey Drainage Mill ©MDHarding

I hope I have inspired you to visit this great UK vacation hot spot. Also don’t miss the quaint seaside coastal towns of Norfolk.

The easiest way to access the area is by car or boat. If arriving at either Norwich airport or one of the London airports why not pre-book car hire to collect immediately upon arrival.

As always we would love to hear from you. Have you visited Norfolk? What was your highlight? Or perhaps you are visiting soon and have a question? We would love to help. Please leave comments/questions below.

Happy Travels:) x

Thank you to Cley Windmill and Herbert Woods.

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions mentioned above are my own.

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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