The community turned out at Bicclescombe Mill in Ilfracombe today (Wednesday) to see an ancient water wheel reinstated once again.

Nick Pedlar pulls the chain to start the newly restored Bicclescombe Mill water wheel. Picture: Tony GussinNick Pedlar pulls the chain to start the newly restored Bicclescombe Mill water wheel. Picture: Tony Gussin

The old water wheel attached to the mill has been faithfully reproduced and visitors to the mill and tea room can now see it fully working.

The project has been carried out by North Devon Council, which approved £15,000 in funding for the restoration project from ‘section 106’ money paid in by developers.

The wheel buckets and boards have been replaced, the mill wheel repainted, debris cleared from the waterwheel pit and the gable wall repainted. Inside the building, the timber beams and floor joists have been replaced and a new window fitted to the gable over the mill wheel, along with new fencing and lighting.

There has been a mill on the site since the late 18th century and the wheel was last restored back in the 1960s.

Nick Pedlar, whose father Glanville led the Ilfracombe Rotary restoration project back then, was there today to officially set the wheel moving again.

Visitors could watch the wheel turning outside as well as go inside to see the massive wooden cogs working.

Ilfracombe town and district councillor Geoff Fowler, part of the Bicclescombe group that oversaw some of the work, said: “We have actually finally got the water wheel up and running at long last.

“Thanks to all concerned, the great co-operation between all the community groups that are involved with the park, also the district council and the 106 money which has helped to pay for it.

The Bicclescombe Mill water wheel in action. Picture: Tony GussinThe Bicclescombe Mill water wheel in action. Picture: Tony Gussin

“The contractors have done a great job and the fact that we have Nick Pedlar this afternoon, whose father was instrumental in the first renovation of the wheel many years ago and Nick has come along to actually set it going again.

“It has now become a great asset to the town in tourism as well as encouraging people to come out and see it. The fact its in a lovely park as well puts the town on the map even more than it has done in the past so hopefully it will go on for many years to come.”

Bicclescombe old mill house and tea rooms is staffed entirely by local volunteers, so if you would like to donate some of your spare time to help out, please contact them on 07879 882877 to find out how.

Bicclescombe Park Mill and Tea Rooms. Picture: Tony GussinBicclescombe Park Mill and Tea Rooms. Picture: Tony Gussin