Cley Windmill is a Grade II Listed Building tower mill on the northern coast of Norfolk, England. Built in the early 19th century, the mill was used to process corn by its half-dozen different owners for almost two hundred years, until eventually being completely re-imagined into a guesthouse and restaurant in the early 1980s by Colonel Charles Blount.
The windmill tower itself features five floors with its milling stage being on the second, eight metres above ground. The stage housed three pairs of millstones that were powered by the four Double-Patent sails on top of the tower. The sails, before being removed when the mill was converted, had a diameter of just over 22 metres from tip to tip. The cap on top of the tower has also been fixed, and is now unable to turn to face the wind.
The first owners, the Farthing family, attempted to sell their newly erected mill in 1819. There was no interest in the mill and it remained in the possession of the Farthings until 1875. It was then bought by miller Stephen Burroughes, who utilized the mill until 1912 when the family business moved further inland. In 1921, the mill was sold to Sarah Wilson, who was the first to begin the transformation of the tower and complex into a holiday home. She later sold the mill to Lieutenant Colonel Hubert Blount in 1934. However, when he was away on business in 1953 the mill flooded, ruining most of the bottom two floors of the building.
When Hubert Blount died in 1979, the property was inherited by his son, Colonel Charles Blount, who put the building up for sale. The mill did not sell, so Blount sought planning permission from the local council to turn the property into something more profitable – namely a guesthouse. Permission was duly granted, and in 1983 the mill opened as the Cley Windmill Guesthouse and Restaurant.
A CULTURAL ICON
The windmill has become iconic to the county of Norfolk, with its silhouette and image being used on a variety of products and even appearing in BBC World’s logo with a balloon flying overhead amongst many other British landmarks, including Canary Wharf and Snowdon Mountain. The windmill is also licensed to host wedding ceremonies and is indeed very popular for this purpose due to its fantastic view over the landscape.
Unable to sell it, the property is still owned by Charles Blount who often brought his son, the now famous musician James Blount (now known as James Blunt), to the mill during his childhood.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Holgate Lane, West Runton, Cromer
Norfolk, England, NR27 9NW
+44 (0)1263 837 544
- Address: The Quay (road), Cley-next-to-the-Sea, Holt, Norfolk, England, UK – NR25 7RP
- GPS: 52.954683,1.042811
- Phone: 0044 (0)1263 740 209
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: NR25 7RP
- Entrance Fees: Now a hotel & restaurant
- Disabled Access: Yes
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Richard Bowden