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. In July 2015 the steel contractors had to rotate the wheel with chains so they could fit new buckets, we then knew it should be possible to get it turning again.

The first time we did this by putting sluice boards across the river to raise the water level, we needed permission for this and it can only be done at certain times of year due to wildlife nesting in river banks. Although we got the wheel turning, it was a lot of work to raise the water level high enough.

We needed a better way of turning the wheel for open days, so we did an experiment with a pump 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 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 downstream to minimise 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, check there are no birds nesting in the wheel, 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 containment tray to prevent oil or fuel leaking into the environment, any spillage is covered with sand and bagged up for safe disposal.

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. The wheel is normally locked with a padlock and chain around the feed pipe to prevent it turning.

At the Spring Open Days 2024 the feed pipe to the water wheel was cut and a rubber coupling added, so the angle of the pipe could be adjusted by twisting the pipe downward to feed more water into the buckets, as water was bouncing back and being lost. This modification should give more power to turn the wheel.

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

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