Sankey Valley Visitor Centre
Blackbrook Road
St Helens
WA11 0AB

telephone: 01744 677 772


Dam Wall & Mill Pond

The site takes advantage of a natural and relatively straight valley that runs approximately east to west. The bank dammed the river, storing water to provide a source of energy to power the machinery initially in the slitting and later in the corn mill.

Currently the dam wall has a large v-shaped notch in it that allows the river to flow through. The edges of this gap have been reinforced with mesh baskets filled with rocks to prevent any movement of the river channel which would cause damage to the site. Sections of the wall are now grass covered, but there are also sections of brick and stone. Over the years the bank has probably been partly rebuilt and reinforced so that its original appearance is no longer certain. However, we think that the base of the dam wall and the parts where water was taken out of the pond and over the water wheels would have been constructed of sandstone blocks which can still be seen in places.

The mill pond is now relatively shallow due to the break in the dam wall and large areas have silted up allowing plants to replace open water. When the mill pond was in active use it would have been important to keep the pond clear of silt and vegetation which would have reduced water storage. The water level would also have changed regularly as water was drained off to power the water wheels. Today the site is surrounded by woodland, and old maps of the area show that the land around the pond has been used for woodland for hundreds of years. The area would have been largely agricultural with small settlements and individual farms.