Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE) has applied for planning permission to install a water wheel at the Old Mill Hotel at Batheaston, to the north of the Toll Bridge on the River Avon. The wheel which is of a ‘Zuppinger’ water wheel type design shown above and will have the capacity to generate 13.5kW of electricity, or about 88,000 kWh per year, enough to provide the electricity for 25 homes. BWCE hope that the waterwheel will also act as an education facility and a tourist attraction.
This will be BWCE’s first hydro plant if it goes ahead and will join hydro-plants at Tellisford (Kaplan, 55 kW), Iford (Archimedes screw, 46 kW), Combe Hay (24kW), Hapsford Mill (Crossflow, 63kW), Lullington Mill (Archimedes screw, 90kW) and Freshford (Archimedes screw , 49kW) in generating clean, green, renewable electricity from the watercourses of the Avon and the Frome.
The wheel replaces an existing decorative wheel on the site which was installed in 1987:
History of the site
The history of the site of the mill may go back as far as Norman times when 2 mills of unknown locations in Batheaston were mentioned in the Doomsday book. The first documented flour mill on the site was built in the 1500s:
partly from the remains of Bath’s Normal Abbey as evidenced by stonework from the Abbey uncovered during the mill’s rebuild in the mid-nineteenth century:
But subsequently destroyed by fire in 1907:
when the present hotel was built.