Restored waterwheel to turn again after 80 years

PUBLISHED: 16:36 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:55 24 July 2019

The vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley Trust

The vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley Trust

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A newly-restored historic waterwheel is set to turn for the first time in 80 years.

The vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley TrustThe vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley Trust

A newly-restored historic waterwheel is set to turn for the first time in 80 years.

The Ottery-based Tale Valley Trust launched a project at its flagship Clapperentale water meadows to mark its 20th anniversary.

This included restoration works on a Clapperentale Waterwheel, which dates back to 1868.

A team of 12 accountants, from chartered accountants Simpkins Edwards in Exeter, volunteered and spent the day clearing a vital outflow tunnel, on their hands and knees, clearing 24 metres of mud from a brick exit culvert little more than 90cm in height.

The vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley TrustThe vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley Trust

Working with the Tale Valley Trust, the Simpkins Edwards team donned gloves, wellies and waders to undertake the hot, dirty and exhausting job of clearing mud and other debris built up since the 1940s.

Split into two teams, the group worked all day. The underground team worked in near-darkness, digging out and collecting the mud, passing the buckets back through the culvert to be extracted while the overground team worked in the fierce heat of the sun, lifting and emptying the buckets into a tipper.

Project coordinator Mish Kennaway, of the Tale Valley Trust, said: "This is the second year in a row that the team from Simpkins Edwards has helped us with vital projects here at the Tale Valley Trust. They worked like Trojans and achieved a huge amount, clearing the entire 24m tunnel by the end of the day. This was no mean feat and helps us towards our goal of having the wheel turning again by this autumn.

"As a charity, we're heavily reliant on volunteers who work on a variety of conservation projects. Help is always needed and much appreciated, and we welcome interest from other businesses looking to get involved with their local communities."

The vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley TrustThe vital work on East Devon waterwheel restoration project has now been completed. Picture: Tale Valley Trust

The Clapperentale Waterwheel Project is just one of the many volunteering days that Simpkins Edwards is participating in during 2019.

Visit www.talevalley.com for more information.

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