New water wheel turns at Mapledurham watermill

On a previous visit to Mapledurham watermill to do maintenance work on the Archimedean Screw the new water wheel was in construction and it was hoped that it would be installed during the Summer. On our visit this week, and to to our surprise and delight the new water wheel made from locally sourced oak had been installed.

Original wheel installed in 1670

Original wheel installed in 1670

The watermill at Mapledurham is the last working corn and grist watermill on the River Thames and is still producing high-quality stone-ground flour today. The mill produces stone-ground flour using the water wheel that was installed when the mill was increased in size in the 1670’s.  Wholemeal and white flour, bran, semolina and Millers Mix, a blended combination bran and semolina, are all produced at the mill and can be bought locally.

Original working water installed in 1670

Original working water installed in 1670

Over the years some of the paddles of the existing original wheel were beginning to show their age so these paddles were replaced so as to extend the life of the water wheel and to allow it to continue to grind the flour.

The new oak waterwheel in construction ~ Photo Credit: www.mapledurhamwatermill.co.uk

The new oak waterwheel in construction ~ Photo Credit: www.mapledurhamwatermill.co.uk

The main reason for replacing the wheel was because of the appearance of a number of splits in the wheels framework and also many of the joints are showing signs of decay and movement.

New water wheel insitu

New water wheel installed April 2014

The new water wheel is the exact structural copy of the existing water wheel and is made out of oak which was sourced from the Mapledurham Estate.

New water wheel at Mapledurham

An exact replica of the wheel installed in 1670

Over the years some of the paddles of the existing original wheel were beginning to show their age so these paddles were replaced so as to extend the life of the waterwheel and to allow it to continue to grind the flour. These ‘replacement’ paddles will now be reused to replace the paddles as they become worn on the new wheel which I imagine won’t be for many years to come!

New water wheel at Mapledurham

New water wheel made from locally sourced oak

 If you’re interested in getting an existing water wheel refurbished or own the site of an old mill that has the possibility of reinstating a water wheel and would like more information please contact us here.

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