Renovation works are currently underway at England's oldest surviving smock mills in Princes Risborough.

The Lacey Green Windmill in Pink Road, Lacey Green, has had its sails removed and one of its stocks as part of a major renovation project.

Standing at the top of the Chiltern hills is England's oldest smock mill with wooden machinery dating from around 1650.

The mill has previously been restored by members of the Chiltern Society, a charity dedicated to conserving, celebrating and caring for all of the unique landscapes of the Chilterns.

Bucks Free Press: Sails removal

As the windmill has closed for winter, works can now start on bringing it back to life again and a fundraising campaign will be launched in due course.

Images taken earlier this week shows a crane removing the sails from the windmill.

Chiltern Society Trustee Jane Herve said:  “This week our volunteers at Lacey Green Windmill have overseen the removal of the sails and one of the stocks.

"This is the first stage of exciting renovation plans and a significant project for our charity.

"This is the first major works to the Windmill since the 70s and will not know the full extent of what renovations are needed until the sails are taken down.

"Our experts can now carry out a full inspection. The renovation is likely to be costly for a small charity like ours and so the support of the community and your readers will be very much appreciated. Watch this space for how to get involved in coming months!”

Bucks Free Press: Lacey Green Windmill

Jane explained how popular the windmill is during the summer, with thousands of visitors exploring the inside of the windmill.

As well as this, dozens of volunteers have been involved with restoration and maintenance work since 1971. Volunteers have also welcomed visitors since 1974. 

She added: "During the summer months, our volunteers open the Windmill to the public and have welcomed over 50,000 visitors.

"More than that, it is a landmark on the Chiltern Escarpment and much-loved by residents and walkers alike."

The Lacey Green Windmill was rebuilt in 1820, adding new inventions to improve efficiency and productivity. This included patent sails with shutters and a fantail to keep the cap facing into the wind.

Despite some attempts to keep the weather out, by 1934 the condition of the windmill’s structure was deteriorating and a number of mill enthusiasts and local people combined forces to try and preserve the unique and ancient machinery within the windmill.

By 1935 the windmill was made watertight, and the corners were strengthened with timber supports set into concrete blocks around the basement wall.

Its working life stopped in 1915, a time when many windmills fell out of use.

Since then, it has served as a much-loved tourist attraction open every year from April until the end of September.