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Abandoned Waterwheel Luxulyan Valley Cornwall
The poignant remains of an abandoned Victorian overshot waterwheel in Luxulyan Valley, Cornwall, SW England, UK. The wheelpit, axle, gears, mounting and anchor bolts, wheel hubs with sockets for the wheel spokes and the edge of a grinding pit for milling can be seen. The waterwheel was built in 1841 and ran from 1842 when Carmears leat above it was completed. The original wheel was 30ft in diameter and hauled wagons up an inclined plane tramway until the 1870s. The wagons transported granite and china clay (used in the production of porcelain) from quarries around the top of the valley whilst the return journeys hauled lime and coal landed at nearby Par docks. Horses were used to haul the wagons along the other tramway sections. The development of the area in the C19th was largely down to the boom in copper mining and the endeavours of the industrialst and engineer Joseph Treffry (1782–1850). Treffry built a complex series of leats to carry water to waterwheels used to power machinery. He also built Par docks and a huge viaduct at the head of the valley for his tramway. When the Cornwall Minerals Railway was built, the tramway fell into disuse. The power of the waterwheel was then re-purposed by the West of England China Clay Company that built a china stone mill to grind chunks of quarried china stone (partially decomposed granite) to yield powder similar to china clay. The water wheel was replaced with a larger one of 40ft diameter & grinding pans built beside it. Remains of grinding pans can still be seen. Once ground, a suspension of china stone in water was pumped down pipeline along the side of the inclined plane to clay driers at Ponts Mill. It ran until 1908 then lay derelict until World War II when it was demolished. After being used by the the mill, the water, known as the tail race, fed back into a leat used to power some of the waterwheel driven machinery of the local group of important copper mines known collectively as Fowey Consols. The area was designated part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site (no. 1215) in 2006 due to its concentration of early C19th industrial remains.
March 31st, 2019
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