River Chew - A Somerset Stream
"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads." - Henry David Thoreau
Pensford To Compton Dando
ONCE CLEAR OF the medieval three arch bridge at Pensford, the River Chew continues north beneath the A37 road bridge, which was built to replace the old single arch bridge following the destructive floods of 1968.

The weir pool, Woollard Mill The river begins a series of wide sweeping meanders during this three mile stretch, as the eastern spur of the Dundry Plateau forces the river to cut a steep sided, twisting valley towards Keynsham.

The flow alternates between shallow rapids - some of which are old fords - and deeper glides throughout this length, which is characterised by an abundance of former mill sites, often accompanied by wide pools.

At Publow church the flow is checked by a small weir that used to feed the mill at Church Farm via a long leat which is still visible today. A former tin mill is located to the south of Woollard, its weir no longer functional due to the absence of the sluice gates.

After a straight shallow run the river passes under Woollard bridge, another modern replacement for the medieval version that perished in 1968, then arcs southwards, shadowed by Catsley Woods, towards Woodborough Mill.

This former 16th century tucking mill was still functioning as a grist mill until the outbreak of World War 2, having been used mainly as a brass battery mill and even a tannery in the centuries between. From this historic site the river turns north east towards Compton Dando, flanked to the left by the mature woodland of Park Copse and Peppershells Wood.

Cog wheels at the former mill, Compton Dando Just before Compton Dando, a line of rocks across the shallow river bed denotes the site of the old weir that raised the water level to feed the mill downstream.

This recently renovated site was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1085, but was not part of the region's metal industries. It is now a residential property, but the restored mill pool, leat and cog wheels are still visible.

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Related Articles, Maps & Further Reading
The old bridge, Pensford
The old bridge, Pensford

Weir pool, Publow
Weir pool, Publow

The River Chew, Publow
The River Chew, Publow

Upstream from Church Farm, Publow
Upstream from
Church Farm, Publow

Upstream from Woollard bridge
Upstream from
Woollard bridge

Below Woodborough Mill, Woollard
Below Woodborough
Mill, Woollard

The River Chew below Woollard
The River Chew below

Site of the former weir, Compton Dando
Site of the former
weir, Compton Dando

Replacement footbridge, Compton Dando
Replacement footbridge,
Compton Dando

Restored mill pool, Compton Dando
Restored mill pool,
Compton Dando

Compton Dando church
Compton Dando church

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