Monday, 24 January 2011

Thames Tributary River Mole - Betchworth Park

Thames Tributary River Mole
The Mole flows east veering slightly south

TQ 18931 50340

The Mole meets the A25 where it is bridged and where there was a mill. Second World War defence structiures also remain

Post to the west Deepdene
Post to the east Betchworth Castle

Boxhill Road
Boxhill Bridge. There was a four-arch bridge here, with further arches under the approach road to allow flooding. It was then on the old Reigate Road and became redundant when the road was diverted through Betchworth Park in 1927. In 1968 it was swept away in the floods but the abutments remain.
Steel footbridge which replaced the older bridge swept away in 1968.

Castle Gardens
Dorking Water Company Pump. Water for the town was insufficient and the company sank a borehole here to augment the supply to Tower Hill. The pump house was near the sawmill for the Deepdene estate and remains of some of the pipe work still exist in gardens of houses in Castle Gardens close to the water wheel. They also arranged for bulk supplies from the East Surrey Water Company, which were never used.

Old Reigate Road
Broken road sign pointing to Reigate with “Stone and Turner, Dorking” and “Stick No Bills” cast into the column
Boxhill Farm. Barns now housing

Reigate Road
Castle Mill. 19th water mill now a house. It is on the site of a Doomsday mill which by 1649 formed part of the manor of West Betchworth and in 1760 belonged to the Betchworth Castle estate. It was enlarged in 1836 with a two-storey weather-boarded extension and by beginning of the 20th it had four pairs of stones.   After a fire in 1933 less work was done and by 1949 there was only one pair of stones, which had been producing animal feed. The mill closed in 1952. The waterwheel and machinery which are there today were installed in 1829. The vertical shaft of the pit wheel is probably older than the iron machinery and appears to have been cut from a pine tree. It was altered for residential use by architect, Michael Manser, in 1969, following a bid to use it as a store. Attempts to operate the wheel have failed because the river level has been lowered - although water supply was never a problem for the mill and there was in fact some flooding.
Underground chamber adjacent to Castle Mill

River Mole
Gauging station on the river
Weir. The 18th weir was modified in 2004 to install two 27.5 kW low-head hydro turbines. 90% of the energy generated is fed into the regional electricity grid, and the remainder used to supply the Betchworth Park Estate,
Deepdene Bridge. This bridge over the Mole was built in 1927 when the old Reigate Road and Boxhill Bridge were by passed.
Between Betchworth and Box Hill, in the Second World War the north bank of the River Mole was stabilised and made steeper to prevent wheeled vehicles from crossing.
Anti tank concrete cylinders installed at Boxhill Farm, in the Second World War, as access to the river from the north bank was needed for cows
Gun mounts and pillboxes installed in the Second World War to protect Boxhill bridge

Sources
Stidder. Watermills of Surrey
Haselfoot, The Batsford Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of South East England.
Pevsner. Surrey

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