Old railway carriage is new base for Narborough Bone Mill restoration team

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Volunteers working to restore a 19th century bone mill are hoping that a new visitors’ centre will help to generate fresh interest in the site.

A disused railway carriage has been transformed to create the facility at the site in Narborough, which was formally opened yesterday.

And, ahead of an open weekend there next month, supporters say the centre will boost current and future helpers alike.

Volunteer John Atkinson said: “If you get a nice cup of tea in the mornings, everyone’s a lot happier and gets stuck in. We’d like to get a few more people down here.

The centre is the latest phase of the ongoing project to restore the bone mill, which stands on the banks of the River Nar, to its former glory.

Although several similar mills operated across Norfolk at that time, Narborough’s is the only one where a significant portion of its workings still remain in place.

Mr Atkinson said there was still plenty of work to be done around the site, particularly in the exploration of the area where the old blacksmith’s shop stood and where a substantial amount of items of archaeological interest may be unearthed.

The new centre was opened by the village’s Breckland district councillor Peter Wilkinson, who helped to secure funding for it through a community grants programme established as part of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.

And he paid tribute to the mill’s owners, the Munford family, and the volunteers for what he called their “amazing” dedication to the mill.

He said: “This centre will enhance the site and we hope, in the future, to encourage visitors and school groups to explore the mill.

“It’s a piece of real history on the River Nar.”

The first main opportunity to do that comes next month during an open weekend to be held on May 14 and 15, as part of National Mills Weekend.

The site will be open from 11am to 4pm on both days. Parking is available at Narborough Maltings, on Pentney Road, around a mile from the actual mill site.

Transport from there to the mill can be booked at www.bonemill.org.uk.