River Meden

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River Meden
River Meden.jpg
River at Burns Lane in Warsop.
Country England
County Nottinghamshire
 - location Huthwaite
Mouth River Idle
 - location Markham Moor
 - coordinates 53°16′6″N 0°56′52″W / 53.26833°N 0.94778°W / 53.26833; -0.94778Coordinates: 53°16′6″N 0°56′52″W / 53.26833°N 0.94778°W / 53.26833; -0.94778
River Meden
River Idle
River Poulter
River Meden and River Maun
A1 bridges, West Drayton
disused railway
B6387 bridges Bothamsall
River Meden weir
River Maun
A614 Pickin's Bridge Perlethorpe
Thoresby Lake
A616 bridge Budby
Welbeck Colliery freight line
Warsop water mill
A60 Church Rd Warsop
Warsop mill pond
Shirebrook freight line
B6407 Sookholme Road
Robin Hood Line
Pleasley Vale Mill 3
mill pond
Pleasley Vale Mill 2
Pleasley Vale Mill 1
mill pond
dismantled railway
A617 bridge Pleasley
Pleasley mill and sluice
mill pond
from Car Ponds, Hardwick Hall
B6014 Fackley Rd, Stanton Hill
dismantled railway

The River Meden is a river in Nottinghamshire, England. Its source lies just north of Huthwaite, near the Derbyshire border, and from there it flows north east through Pleasley and Warsop before merging temporarily with the River Maun near Bothamsall. The rivers divide after a short distance and go on separately to a point near Markham Moor where they once more combine to form the River Idle.


The river rises as two main streams to the north of Huthwaite, above the 200-foot (61 m) contour,[1] on the coal measures that run along the western edge of Nottinghamshire.[2] Both are crossed by dismantled railway lines, before they unite and flow in a north-easterly direction to the north of Stanton Hill and Skegby. After crossings by two more redundant railways, the river is joined by a stream which flows from the Car Ponds on the edge of the Hardwick Hall estate. The county boundary between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire follows the course of the stream, and continues along the river as it passes to the south of Pleasley and under the A617 road. Just before the bridge are two large ponds,[1] the second one constrained by a grade II listed dam, 66 feet (20 m) long by 10 feet (3.0 m) wide, with vertical wooded sluice gates on the upstream side.[3] The adjacent two-arched bridge was built in 1800, although it was modified somewhat in the twentieth century,[4] and its function has been partially superseded by the A617 bypass. Next the river passes through Pleasley Vale, where the water has cut through the underlying limestone escarpment to form a deep, narrow valley, much of which is wooded. Several mill buildings were constructed here out of local limestone.[2] Two large mill ponds remain, with two mill buildings, while a third building is located on a stream which flows from the north to join the Meden at this point.[1]

After passing under the Robin Hood Line, which runs from Worksop to Nottingham, the county border leaves the river, which continues in a north-easterly direction to pass between Church Warsop and Market Warsop, where it is crossed by the A60 road.[1] Just below the bridge is Warsop watermill, much of which dates from 1767. The building is grade II listed, and internally, the machinery and rolling mill date from the nineteenth century. There is also an early twentieth century water turbine.[5] The mill bridge and weir are also listed structures.[6] Turning eastwards, the river passes through Budby and into Thoresby Park, where it has been dammed to form a large ornamental lake called Thoresby Lake.[1] The difference in height between the lake and the river below it at the eastern end was sufficient for Earl Manvers, the owner of Thoresby Hall, to install two water turbines in 1941. They were supplied by Newtons of Derby and were of 22 kVA and 5 kVA capacity. The electricity generated supplied the hall. The generator house was demolished in the late 20th century.[7] Below the lake, the river passes the hamlet of Perlethorpe, to be joined by the River Maun, flowing northwards, and here called Whitewater. The Robin Hood Way, a long distance footpath, crosses soon afterwards, and a weir creates two channels again, the south one deemed to be the Maun and the north one the Meden. They remain roughly parallel as they are crossed by the B6387 road near Bothamsall, a freight railway and the Robin Hood Way again. They diverge to the west of Markham Moor roundabout on the A1 road, pass under the road, and combine to form the River Idle. Just below the junction, the River Poulter swells the flow.[1]


The river near Pleasley Vale has been utilised to provide power since at least 1767, when two forges and a corn mill are known to have been operating. The forges were run by George Sitwell, and were called Nether and Upper forge. The engineered river channel made it a good site for further development, and a consortium of businessmen from Nottingham and drapers from Mansfield leased the vale and Pleasley Park in 1782, in order to construct water-powered cotton mills. The Upper Mill (now called Mill 1) was built first, on the site of the previous corn mill, and was operational by 1785. The Lower Mill (now Mill 3) was completed seven years later at a cost of £1,190, and was much bigger. A manager's house and a row of ten houses for the workers were also completed in 1792. The mills supplied cotton to the expanding East Midland hosiery industry. One of the original three businessmen was Henry Hollins, and by the early 18th century, the mills were run by William Hollins and Co. They were the first and one of the most successful cotton producers in the East Midlands.[8]

The Upper Mill (now Mill 1) at Pleasley Vale, with the mill pond in the foreground

The Hollins family managed the mills for many years, but from the 1830s were joined by the Pagets, who introduced steam power to the mills. Fire destroyed the Upper Mill on 25 December 1840, but it was rebuilt by 1844. The Lower Mill also burnt down, and was replaced in 1847. Newer equipment fitted as part of the rebuilding enabled the mills to stay competitive. William Hollins lived at Pleasley Vale, and oversaw the expansion of the community, with the construction of more houses for the workers, the provision of public facilities including a school, wash house, and a cooperative society, and attention to leisure activities by the establishing of a Mechanics Institute, a library and a cricket club. A company farm was also established. St Chad's Chapel and the vicarage were commissioned by Charles Paget in 1876.[9] The Chapel was opened in 1881, but was reputedly built in 1861 at Stuffynwood, Derbyshire, and later moved to its present site. It has a small bell turret at its western end, and a number of its features mimic thirteenth and fourteenth century styles. Internally, there is a brass memorial to Paget and his wife Helen Elizabeth.[10]

From the 1890s, the mills produced Viyella, a mixture of cotton with Merino wool, which produces a soft fabric.[11] They continued to flourish, as various extensions show. The Upper Mill was extended in the 1890s, when a fourth storey was added, and again, probably in 1913, when extensions were added to the north and rear.[12] A large combing shed, where cotton fibres were straightened and aligned prior to the production of fabric, was built just below it in 1913. This was a two-storey building, with a single storey wing at the back. It was extended in 1952, when an extra two floors were added to the main shed, and a three-storey block was added at the side. At this point, it became a mill, and is now called Mill 2.[13] The Lower Mill was also extended, but because it was much larger than the Upper Mill when it was built, and the extensions were relatively small, it retains more of its original character.[14] There were 980 workers employed at the site in 1934, but decline gradually set in. The first workers houses were demolished in 1961, to be followed by the school, the baths and the Mechanics Institute. By 1987, production had moved abroad, and the mills closed. Bolsover District Council bought the mill buildings in 1992, using compulsory purchase powers, and they have been revitalised, to be used for light industry and offices. The mill ponds have also survived.[11]

Points of interest[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Ordnance Survey, 1:25,000 map
  2. ^ a b Butler 1997
  3. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (468972)". Images of England.  Dam and Sluices
  4. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (468971)". Images of England.  Pleasley Bridge, Chesterfield Road North
  5. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (434771)". Images of England.  Warsop Mill
  6. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (434770)". Images of England.  Mill bridge and weir, Warsop
  7. ^ Interpretation panel at Thoresby Hall gallery
  8. ^ Mansfield 2009, p. 11
  9. ^ Mansfield 2009, pp. 12–13
  10. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (434655)". Images of England.  Church of St Chad, Pleasley
  11. ^ a b Mansfield 2009, pp. 14–16
  12. ^ Mansfield 2009, pp. 28–29
  13. ^ Mansfield 2009, pp. 32–33
  14. ^ Mansfield 2009, pp. 34–35