About Ryecroft Mill

Ryecroft Mill is quite a modern name for what was Dore Corn Mill or Jacky Mill, and the surrounding plantation was known as Jacky's Wood.


All that can seen now is the high back wall, in front of which was the overshot wheel. In front of the wall is the wheel race, where water from the wheel ran away. Behind the wall lie the remains of the dam, now almost dried out, marshy, and home to a badger sett and many varieties of wild flowers. The mill buildings stood to the right of the back wall. The dam was fed by two very long goyts, both of which can be traced for a considerable distance. The goyt to the north was probably fed by a dam much higher up the Limb Brook, just down from the stile entrance from the playing fields. This goyt crosses two small streams tributary to the Limb Brook on its way, and may have taken water from then when it was in use. The western goyt can be traced for some distance, but the alterations to the land surface made when the picnic area was filled in over the old mine in the valley make it difficult to see precisely where the weir was. From the wheel pit, the water flowed through a culvert under the track back to the Ryecroft Brook.

Ryecroft Mill

It was known as the Lim or Limes lead smelting mill in about 1670. Fields near it, called Upper and Lower Belland, relate to pollution caused by lead smelting, and scatters of lead slag can still be found east of the wheel pit. The bank of the dam also contains pieces of lead slag. We do not know how long this use continued, or, indeed, how long a mill had stood at this point before it was used for lead smelting. However, lead smelting here, and probably in the land under the dam at Abbeydale Hamlet, probably made use of white coal made in Q-pits in the woods. The mill was used to drive bellows for the smelting, which explains why ore was brought here from its sources in Derbyshire, rather than taking fuel from the woods to the ore.

By 1827 Ryecroft Mill was used for milling corn, and by 1871 the mill had been abandoned, and its last tenant had become a full-time farmer. Since then it has gradually decayed to the form we see now.

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