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Private Collection




Original photographs


Digital Archive: Photographs of Olchon Farm Mill, Llanveynoe

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2012 - 2015


Olchon Farm Mill was restored to full working order between 2012 and 2015 by owner Brian Dixon with Millwright Malcolm Cooper. The photographs here are divided into two parts; part 1 records a visit in 2012 before restoration, and part 2 describes the working mill in 2015.


Part 1: Before Restoration

These photographs of Olchon Farm Mill were taken by Ewyas Lacy Study Group during the National Mills Weekend open day in May 2012. The mill is situated on a tributary of the Olchon Brook and both the mill building and the wheel are intact. The mill is shown on maps of Herefordshire by Taylor [1754] and Bryant [1835].

The wheel has an unusual rim gear drive which enables the floor of the mill to be above the overshot waterwheel, which is 20 feet in diameter and 2’6” in width. There is a single French burr bedstone in place, suggesting that the runner stone and stone shaft were driven directly from the waterwheel in a manner that was traditional in most mills before the introduction of spur wheels and their associated gears and shafts.

There is a mill pool on the adjacent hillside, but this is quite small so it is likely that the mill also relied on direct run-off from the slopes of the Black Mountains behind the farm during wet weather, together with spring-fed supplies.

The headrace sluice and the waterwheel are operable, though in somewhat dilapidated condition, and the rim gear with its drive cog, axle shaft and internal pit wheel are worn but working; however, the runner stone and its associated shaft and stone nut are not in place.



The mill building


French Burr bedstone

The mill pool


Mill pool dam

Mill leat


Headrace, with by-pass sluice to right

By-pass channel


Sluice, waterwheel and drive gears

Wheel, drive mechanism and sluice with rack and pinion gear, from above


Schematic of drive layout



Part 2: After Restoration

In 2014 the mill was restored to working condition, shown in the photographs below. The original worn French Burr bed stone has been replaced by a pair of Derbyshire grit stones, together with new gears, stone shaft, stone furniture, meal spout and hurst frame timbers including the use of a recycled church pew to support meal sacks.

The work was carried out by millwright Malcolm Cooper, who has also carried out restoration work for Martin Cook at Clodock Mill in recent years. By May 2015 he had also rebuilt the overshot waterwheel with a complete new set of buckets together with tail race improvements [not yet photographed], and the mill was in operation grinding bread flour for the National Mills Weekend event.



The Mill Pool


The small pit wheel driven from the waterwheel ring gear, with the bevelled stone nut and shaft above


Wooden teeth in the bevelled stone nut


New millstone furniture













New employment for a recycled church pew, supporting sacks under the meal spout


The stone shaft and underside of the bedstone in its new hurst frame


New millstone furniture


New millstone furniture













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