Looking for the Gunpowder mills
Saturday 12th May was another of those days my wife went off to a dog fun day. I came along to keep her company as it was somewhere different. I had checked out the map of the area and it looked quite fruitful in the number of pillboxes there could be. So after getting to our destination of Chilworth I thought it was time for a walk round on my own, while my wife and dog enjoyed their day. First problem I encountered was I had left my map behind, had the GPS but no map of the places I wanted to get to. I seemed to remember the pillboxes lined the river but with no map of the positions I was left with walking round the village not even turning on the GPS (big mistake).
Heading off through Chilworth which did not seem to have much to offer to start with , the Church was a recent one (Victorian) and the Village hall looked like it used to be an old tin chapel as it was made from corrugated iron (unusual nowadays) then there was the railway crossing . I had not realised there was a station or I would have headed there, instead I went down a lane called Old Manor Gardens which turned out to be very rough even though I was on foot. I reached some cottages at the end and noticed the name, Magazine Cottages. Either someone had a sense of humour or they had history. Turned out to be the latter as after asking a resident why he told me they were old tithe cottages from the gunpowder mills and after asking where they were I was told how to get there. I decided to carry on the way I was going and make my way to the gunpowder mills. It was quite scenic as I passed a small river and a white cottage of the chocolate box variety in a field then, after going past some houses I came out on Halfpenny Lane in front of the entrance to the gunpowder mills . A few quick photos of Halfpenny Lane and it was off through the mills . They dated back to 1670 and stopped production in 1920.
All along the path you came across old sluices where water still ran out of the old brick channels through what was left of a mill. Millstones stood around or were left lying where they fell last . The trees and undergrowth were being cut back after years of neglect to reveal old water courses and the footings of buildings . A water course like a small canal fed much of this and you came across an old tramway and swing bridge proving small barges were sent along the water course.
Walking on further into the place you soon come across the large mill buildings still standing and looking grim .
A little further is another building and then you come to a gate leading out to a track. This is where I found my only WW2 remains of the day, a road block and the first of its type I had come across where steel rails were inserted. Its counterpart on the other side seemed to have been demolished as a pile of concrete was all that remained .
It was time to return so it was a pleasant walk back through the woods before getting to the road again though one more stop off was required to get some photos of a second church before meeting up with my wife.
No geotrip this time more is the pity it will teach me to turn on the GPS in future no matter how short or uninteresting the walk could be.
- Tue, 22 May 2012 at 16:15
- Grid Square
- Chosen Photo
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