Woodbridge Tide Mill’s millpond had a problem. Weed was growing in an uncontrollable manner, and this was blocking the point at which water is released from the pond to power the millwheel and grind wheat. The weed grows from the bottom, eventually detaches and floats to the top. Underneath the floating dead weed there’s half a meter of clear water and then more weed growing from the bottom of the pond. It grows vigorously in the warm summer but eventually decomposes and starts to disappear in Nov. It’s completely gone by winter.
During most of the year it gets caught in the Mill’s ancient machinery and recently this has brought milling to a standstill.
Dredging it is expensive and destructive to the pond fabric and some wildlife. You can’t harvest it as a resource, and you can’t eat it because water from the river Deben isn’t pleasant.
Head Miller Dan Tarrant Willis however has devised this cunning solution. The square shown in the photo is directly above the spot where the Mill draws water to power the wheel. The square has a half metre net hanging from it and a chain hanging down to keep it in place. The weed can’t get in there. Weed will grow from the pond floor but will detach and we skim it off like a swimming pool.
The wooden square rises and falls with the tide and when Dan takes 50cm from the pond for milling.
It no longer stops the Mill from milling
An initiative that could be adopted by others who have a problem with such weed fouling water intakes for cooling or driving machinery, dynamos etc