Middlehill

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The Bybrook, also known as the By Brook, is a small river in Somerset. It is a tributary of the Bristol Avon and is some 12 miles  long. Its sources are the Burton Brook and the Broadmead Brook, which rise in South Gloucestershire at Tormarton and Cold Ashton respectively, and join just north of Castle Combe in Wiltshire. The river has a mean flow rate of 57.25 cubic feet per second as recorded at Middlehill near Box. This camera was installed and is maintained by the Environment Agency and can be viewed here All  content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. A variety of flora and fauna is supported by the river including the endangered white-clawed crayfish. Twenty watermill sites have been identified on the river but none now remain. many were seasonal and only operated when there was sufficient water. In Roman times, the mills were exclusively used for grinding corn, but by the end of the 12th century, this part of Wiltshire became an important centre for the wool trade. Mills were converted to the cleansing and thickening of wool, a process known as fulling. Fulling mills were established by Sir John Fastolf in Castle Combe, along the Bybrook, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, supporting a thriving woollen industry. With the decline of the woollen industry in the 17th century, accelerated by the Civil War and plague, many mills returned to grain, and fulling finally ceased when steam power shifted cloth-making to the north in the Industrial Revolution. The rise in demand for paper for packaging from nearby Bristol led to many mills converting to paper making in the 18th and 19th centuries.