Among Chilworth woods, on the course of the Tilling Bourne river, once stood a gunpowder mill. Founded by the East India Company in 1625, it was one of the largest powder works in the country, employing 600 people at its peak, and supplying gunpowder to the government.
The downturn in demand for explosives at the end of the war resulted in amalgamations in the industry, leading to the closure of the last factory in 1920. Many of the buildings were converted into dwellings after that point and a small community known at “Tin Town” lived in the valley until the early 1960’s.
Although many have been demolished, several buildings still exist within the site. Like these old walls of former buildings,
the steam engine bed
and an edge runner stone.
A selection of these old millstones are visible as you walk towards the old mill.
There’s also a swing bridge which helped punts travel up and down the waterways.
By the river and wetlands, a storage hut is nestled in-between the trees.
This area although overgrown for the most part is surrounded by beautiful pathways.
What was once the old mill stood tall in the sunshine, the blue sky its backdrop.
Its remains are classed as a monument
but being exposed to the elements it’s awash with moss and ivy.
I’m not sure this wonderful place would have been discovered if it hadn’t been for wanting an abandoned photo. But what a great find.
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