One of my favourite short walks takes me along the mill leat in the Riverside Valley Park. There are three bodies of water in the Valley Park, the canal, the river itself and the mill leat running roughly parallel, for about a kilometre. My walk begins less than a kilometre from the quay, at Salmon Pool Lane, where I pause on the bridge over the leat, hoping to spot a kingfisher.
No such luck.
There’s some major flood prevention work taking place on the river, so I head over to check it out.
This is the view up river.
And this is down. I can’t make any sense of it, but the work’s been going on for several years already. Retracing my steps I pause to admire what I call the photo posts ( they make a great setting for family photos).
Then it’s back to the path.
Where I find this Hairy Dragonfly lady, quite happy to pose for me.
The flora and fauna get together, and give each other a helping hand.
Now, I hope that someone can tell me what this wildflower is, Jude perhaps? I only saw one.
Flora and George are keen to get going now, it’s such a hot day, they’re tempted by the water.
As it’s shallow they give it a try.
But not for long.
Someone’s been busy.
Next we cross the wooden footbridge.
This is the point where the North Brook joins the leat, just before it re-joins the river.
So we walk across the wooden footbridge.
The dogs know there’s rabbits around, but they have no hope of catching them.
The bright green plant intrigued me, it’s further away than it looks, could it be a Gunnera escaped from a garden?
We’re getting close to Mill Road now, the Mill was an overgrown ruin when I was a child. A grade 2 listed building, it belongs to the city council, and quite a lot of restoration has taken place. The first mill was built in 1284 by Countess Isabela. It was powered by the leat and was used to grind corn, but from the 1630’s paper making using rags began. Through the 18th and early 19th century, the quality of paper produced changed to good writing paper, notes for private banks and news print for the Times of India. In 1816 a fire destroyed the old mil and this replacement was built.
At it’s height, 200 people were employed, the Industrial revolution was here and it was one of the first to install machines.
Once rag paper was replaced with wood pulp, the mill went into decline, such a shame. I’ve always been interested in the building, it’s so striking.
I think it would make a fabulous hostel, for walkers on the long distance South West Coast Path, just a hop, skip and a jump down the road. With a café and interpretation centre wouldn’t it be nice? If only the council thought so too!
I’m sharing with Jo, for her Monday Walk, the first time for ages, Jo save me until another time, you’re probably all set for tomorrow already. 🙂