Saturday, 6 December 2008

Allerton moor

Ashton windmill, Chapel Allerton

A rare self-designed walk constructed from an examination of the OS map. The walk begins in Stone Allerton with a footpath near the pub which heads south west towards the levels. Initially you pass beside some fields of elephant grass....

...and then emerge on a track beside fields. A short distance along the road, another path across fields leads down to Allerton moor - an area of low-lying fields. The track follows the edge of these and offers surprisingly clear views of Brent Knoll, some way to the south.

The track eventually reaches the Allerton Moor rhine (one of the characteristic drainage ditches which criss-cross the Somerset levels). Looking back along the rhine, you can see Crook Peak, on the Mendips, in the distance. (Note also the photographer's shadow in the foreground.)

After a mile or so, I turned left along a lane towards Chapel Allerton, passed through the village and reached the Weare-Wedmore road. A short detour here brought me to the Ashton windmill - I have been past many times, but until today never stopped for a closer look.

Then back along the road to the start. About five miles in all.

Map: Explorer 153 (Weston-Super-Mare and Bleadon Hill).

Rating: three and half stars.

Ashton windmill, Chapel Allerton

This is an eighteenth century corn mill, of a type known as a tower mill. The picture below shows it from the side. It's not quite clear to me what the over-hanging section at the back is for: there seems to be scope for a pulley.

More about windmills can be found at Windmill World and UK Mills. The helpful page on the history and development of windmills at Windmill World explains the three basic types of mill in their evolutionary sequence: post (where the whole body of the mill rotated around a central post to face the wind), smock (where the wooden body of the mill is fixed and only the cap, containing the roof, the sails, the windshaft and the brake wheel, rotates) and the tower (like the smock mill but with a brick body).

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