Berney Arms Windmill
Gift shop (Summer)
Tea room (Summer)
The Berney Arms 01493 700303
(Closed winter months)
Electric Hook-Up (pub)(soon)
Berney Arms can be reached only by train, by boat or on foot; there is no road access. Berney Arms railway station is a request stop on the Norwich-Great Yarmouth via Reedham line, only two trains in each direction run Monday to Saturday, with more services on Sundays. The former signal box is preserved at Mangapps Railway Museum, Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Access on foot involves walking the 3½ miles from Halvergate, or along the edge of Breydon Water to Great Yarmouth.
Berney Arms takes its name from the landowner Thomas Trench Berney, via the name given to the railway station. Berney sold the land on which the railway was built only on the condition that a station was built to serve the area. A pub, called The Berney Arms, is situated nearby and serves the walkers and boaters who pass through the area. The pub serves Woodforde's Real Ales, brewed in nearby Woodbastwick.
The windmill is 71 feet (21.5 metres) tall and is the tallest drainage windmill in Norfolk. It is constructed from red brickwork with the outside sloping walls coated with tar. The mill tower stands seven storeys high. The cap resembles an upturned clinker boat hull and is a traditional style for Norfolk. The windmill has four sails and a fantail. The mill's scoop wheel stands some way from the mill, which is unusual. The scoop wheel is linked to the mill by a horizontal shaft and has a diameter of 24 feet (7.3 metres), with long wooden paddles. The paddles scooped water into a narrow brick-built culvert and released it to the higher level of the River Yare.
The windmill was built in 1865 for the Reedham Cement Company by the millwright firm of Stolworthy. At first, it was used to grind cement clinker, using clay dredged from Oulton Broad and brought to the mill by wherry. The wherries brought mud and lime to be fired at nearby kilns. The kilns produced a clinker which was ground to a powder in the windmill. Cement production closed in 1880 and in 1883 the windmill was converted to work the drainage scoop to drain the surrounding marshland. The long period of restoration began in 1951.
The Windmill underwent a restoration programme starting in 1999 when the sails were removed along with the cap and fantail. The cap was replaced during 2003, the fantail on 22 April 2006 and finally the sails on 25 May 2007. Unfortunately due to the restricted access to the site the restored mill remained closed to the public indefinitely. During the Summer of 2009 English Heritage in partnership with a local boat tour company re-opened the mill on a limited basis on most Mondays it is hoped that this arrangement will be expanded if all goes well.
Berney Marshes is a nature reserve in the care of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and part of the Halvergate Marshes a favoutite breeding habitat of both Lapwings and Redshanks.The RSPB uses Ashtree Farm, the only other significant building remaining in the settlement, as its local headquarters.
Berney Arms Reach is the name for the part of the River Yare as it enters Breydon Water
Adjoining the pub is a Tea Room, gift shop and small store. Both the pub and shop close during the winter months.
Nearby Berney Marshes are home to the RSPB birdlife nature reserve
Berney Arms Pub 01493 700303