The Land Yeo is a modest river coursing through North Somerset. Its source can be found on Dundry Hill, and it serves as a water supply for the Barrow Gurney Reservoirs before meandering through several villages until it reaches Clevedon, where it ultimately drains into the Bristol Channel. Over the past millennium, the river has been instrumental in powering no fewer than ten watermills, although only one remains operational at present.Since 2003, concerted efforts have been undertaken to revitalize the river, focusing on enhancing water quality and fostering the proliferation of wildlife. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the Land Yeo played a pivotal role in driving a series of mills, some of which can be traced back to the era of the Domesday Book. These mills encompassed both corn and gristmills, as well as those adapted for snuff production. Within Barrow Gurney alone, three mills were situated along the Land Yeo.The Upper Barrow Mill, featuring an Overshot water wheel, operated as a Gristmill as early as 1839. It subsequently transitioned into a corn mill by 1866 and ceased operations by 1935. The Middle Mill, converted into a snuff manufacturing facility around 1800 by Peter Lilly, a tobacconist from Bristol, became part of the W.D. & H.O. Wills tobacco manufacturing company. It discontinued mill operations by 1839, and by 1885, both the leat and millpond had vanished. The Lower Mill, known for grinding corn during the 19th century, underwent a reconstruction in 1909, featuring a 14-foot diameter iron overshot watermill and the introduction of steam power. Presently, the mill continues its operation in the production of animal feeds, although the waterwheel and millpond, while still extant, are no longer functional.
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Moving downstream, the next mill is located in the parish of Long Ashton in close proximity to the site of the Gatcombe Roman Settlement. Evidence suggests the existence of a snuff mill at the site as early as 1769, although the current building dates back to the early 19th century. By 1846, it had been repurposed for grinding mustard, annatto, and drugs, eventually transforming into a flour mill by 1874. The mill retains its internal machinery and has received the designation of a Grade II listed building.Within the same parish stood Kincott Mill, which had stood since at least the 13th century. By the early 19th century, it was leased for snuff grinding and had a steam engine installed in the 1830s to power a flour and corn mill. Subsequently, it came under the ownership of an iron founder who specialized in crafting edge tools and other farm implements, incorporating cast-iron water wheels. To the north of the village of Flax Bourton, remnants of Bourton Mill remain, with potential existence dating back to the time of the Domesday Book, supported by strong documentary evidence from 1769. Between 1839 and 1885, the river was redirected into the tailrace of the mill, eliminating a bend in its course. All that remains today is a single-story garage, a vestige of the once three-story mill, now privately owned.At Watercress Farm in Wraxall, the sole functioning waterwheel on the river can be found. This 6-foot-diameter wheel, constructed prior to 1885 and housed in a small brick building, serves as a water pump. Another mill within the parish of Wraxall was operational during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, it fell into disuse by 1885 and had succumbed to ruin by 1950, with only dilapidated walls remaining near the entrance of Wraxall House.The mill in Tickenham was established in the mid-12th century by the Canons of the Abbey of St Augustine (now Bristol Cathedral). During the 19th century, it came under the ownership of the Ashton Court Estate and was subsequently employed as a water pump in the 20th century. It has since been converted into a private residence. Clevedon boasted at least two mills—the Tuck Mills, situated in the fields south of Clevedon Court, were primarily utilized for fulling cloth. The other mills, likely dating back to the early 17th century, were located near Wain's Hill.