A HISTORIC 300-year-old mill is set to finally reopen to the public following a long-awaited revamp.

After nearly two years since its last open day, Alderford Mill in Sible Hedingham will open to visitors again this weekend.

Over the past three years, the mill has been subjected to a number of improvement works, with costs nearing £8,000.

Teams began work in 2019 and were able to strip and replace old wood from the mill wheel, with timber costing more than £3,500.

Hit by Covid-19 restrictions, teams continued work and replaced the mill’s crown wheel cogs to connect the new water wheel to a sack hoist.

The hoist is now working and can be used for demonstrations.

However, while successful, it has been a hard road for the Friends of Alderford Mill group who look after the mill.

The mill underwent a fire inspection earlier in the year.

Results of the inspection condemned the staircase which leads to the mill’s stone floor due to flexing and the stairs were only approved for use recently.

Last year, the group also discovered a leak below the water level of the neighbouring river.

The water threatened the foundations and required more work.

Now the mill will reopen on Sunday but the group say visitors must book first and only six are allowed to visit at a time.

Group chairman Owen Hawkes, 79, said: “We only worked on Wednesday afternoons but we started in March and went to late October.

“They took off all the old wood from the water wheel, cleaned it up and added the new wood.

“The wheel is a key piece and without the wheel we wouldn’t be able to demonstrate how it works.

“We’re giving guided tours where you start at the base of the mill and go to the top then follow the process of the mill down.

“When water levels permit we can run the mill to demonstrate the milling process.

“My favourite part has been the re-cogging of the crown wheel.

“The individual cogs had to be reshaped and it was what required the most skill.”