Concerns over low water levels in Gunpowder Mills

A concerned local has reported concerns over the low levels of water in one of the canals in the Gunpowder Mills that feeds the Mill Race.

The normal channels of communication with GBC have temporarily been curtailed following the cessation of the original Gunpowder Mills Group earlier this summer. To fill the gap, Chilworth2gether contacted the appropriate officials at GBC on behalf of the local concern, and alerted the Parish Council of the query.

Both responded promptly. St Martha Parish Council has been aware of the problem of sluggish water in some of the channels and slow flows of water for some time; it is aware that a metal plate inserted upstream some years ago has reduced the flow of water and is a potential cause of the problem.

St Martha has advised that they have already contacted the Environment Agency with the purpose of having the metal plate removed in order to restore the flow.

GBC on the other hand attributed the slow flow to the hot summer and less rainfall than usual; this is based on the advice it has been given. In addition, it has attempted to improve the damage to the Mill Race by introducing sand bags; it is commissioning a survey of the Mill Race, but thinks that the costs of full restoration may be prohibitive in the current climate.

Both Parish Council and GBC also point out the problem of silt and rubbish in the channels mean the channels will probably need to be dredged out to restore the right levels so that, if the water flow is increased, it can flow freely.

St Martha Parish Council has announced that it hopes to establish a sub-group of the Parish Council for the Gunpowder Mills in the autumn, which will represent its interests, and open up lines of communication again with GBC.

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Gunpowder Mills Group retires, but representation carries on

After 20 years of keeping an expert eye on the Gunpowder Mills site, with particular interest in the history and archaeological remains on the site, the members of the Gunpowder Mills Group are retiring, and the group is to be disbanded. Much has been achieved over the time, in partnership with the GBC Parks and Leisure team, in trying to stabilise the ruins and manage the site. Not an easy task, with different priorities and management styles, and of course within limited budgets.

At its last meeting, the Group invited the local parish Council, St Martha’s PC, that has always had representatives on the Gunpowder Mills group, to consider continuing their involvement. As a result, the representatives from the Parish Council will consider whether they should form a sub-group of the Council, so that the dialogue and good relations with GBC can continue. It is envisaged that local expert advice and the support of the community will continue as before.

The local Annual Gunpowder Mills Meeting, chaired by the Parish Council, will meet as usual in the autumn. The date has been set, and the village hall booked for Thursday November 8 at 7.70pm.

The community would like to thank the gunpowder Mills Group for giving freely of its time and expertise, to make the Gunpowder Mills a better place.

Chilworth Gunpowder Mills picture Gallery

Gunpowder Mills front page – illustrated with photograph of The Swing Bridge
swing bridge p2

aerial photograph of Gunpowder Mills site from the air – copyright Andrew Norris
air photo from north 2009

The Millstones
millstones at incorporating mills buildings 20-22

The Incorporating Mills
incorporating mills 1885 building 52

West Lodge building – used by workers to report for duty and leave any inflammable material
SONY DSC

Incorporating Mills building
incorporating mills 1860s buildings 20-22 p2

Expense Magazine building
SONY DSC

Incorporating Mills 1885
incorporating mills 1885 building 52

Gunpowder Mills map and historic information to download

Chilworth Gunpowder Mills Is a scheduled ancient monument. Enhance your visit to the Gunpowder Mills in their magic woodland set by downloading the following information and guided trail. See also a set of images showing the historic remains, shown under Gunpowder Mills Picture Gallery.

Thanks to Andrew Norris, Chilworth Gunpowder Group for the images, and to Glenys Crocker for permission to download the map.
walk leaflet 2010 rev2b page 1
walk leaflet 2010 rev2b page 2