Blue Flower

When restoration work started at the mill, we wanted to get the water wheel turning again but we were unsure if it would be possible as it had not turned for over 100 years. After 4 months the steel contractors had to rotate the wheel with chains so they could fit the new buckets, we then knew it should be possible to get the wheel turning again.

The first time we did this by putting sluice boards across the river to raise the water level, we had to get permission for this and although we managed to get the wheel turning, it was a lot of work to raise the level high enough.

We needed a better way of turning the wheel for open days, so we did an experiment using the pump which was used to empty the cistern. The pump was set up to draw river water through a hose and feed directly into the water wheel buckets. We got soaked when priming the pump, but it was worth it as we got the wheel turning again successfully.

So a permanent steel pipe was installed in August 2017 from the main trench across the grindstone area and out in front of the water wheel, with slots feeding water directly into the wheel buckets. This is supplied by an irrigation hose running through the trench and tunnel from the pump, which is down river to minimise the noise. 

A wall was built to hide the feed pipe where it crosses the grindstone area, the other side of the wall was filled in with soil and grassed over to blend in with the surrounding area.

Now we just take the pump to site, roll out and connect the hose and have the wheel turning in an environment friendly way, as the river level and wildlife are not affected. The pump is placed in a deep metal tray to prevent oil or fuel leaking into the environment when in use.

We regularly have the wheel turning at Mills Weekends, Heritage Open Days and group visits. A viewing platform has been fitted beside the wheel to allow safe viewing of the moving water wheel. 

Video of Wheel Turning with Pump        Interactive Plan      Site Activity        HOD 2017

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