The River Isle (also known as the River Ile) flows from its source near Combe St Nicholas, through Somerset, and discharges into the River Parrett south of Langport near Midelney. Several small springs merge into the river near Wadeford it then flows north past Donyatt, Ilminster, Puckington, and Isle Abbotts, before joining the Parrett. The first section of the river falls 250 feet in 6 miles and then falls less steeply falling 80 feet during the subsequent 8 miles. As a result, several mills were built on the upper reaches of the river. At least one mill was in existence at the time of the Domesday Book. These mills were an important part of the local economy connecting with the wool trade. A lock was built at the junction with the River Parrett, to maintain water levels, when the Westport Canal was built in the 1830s. The canal joins the river approximately 1 mile before the confluence with the Parrett. Chard Reservoir was built by damming the river in the 1840s to provide water for the Chard Canal Ilminster is mentioned in documents dating from 725 and in a Charter granted to the Abbey of Muchelney 10 miles to the north by King Ethelred in 995. This camera was installed and is maintained by the Environment Agency and can be viewed here
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Ilminster is also mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) as Ileminstre meaning 'The church on the River Isle' from the Old English ysle and mynster. By this period Ilminster was a flourishing community and was granted the right to hold a weekly market, which it still does. Ilminster was part of the hundred of Abdick and Bulstone. In 1645 during the English Civil War Ilminster was the scene of a skirmish between parliamentary troops under Edward Massie and Royalist forces under Lord Goring who fought for control of the bridges prior to the Battle of Langport.