Slitting Mill Weir removal
As part of our Hidden Heritage Secret Streams project, DCRT undertook a project to remove Slitting Mill Weir on the River Rother.
The river around Staveley has been altered a lot over the decades to meet the needs of industry, including straightening and de-meandering. The original Slitting Mill Weir was several hundred years old, and as the name suggests, it fed water to the nearby slitting mill which slit metal bars into rods. These rods were then passed to other local mills to make nails. We know that the Weir was heavily altered, possibly rebuilt using original stones, around the 1950s for the nearby chemical works. Since these works closed, the weir has had no use, but remained in the river as a barrier to fish and other wildlife. So, in October 2020, after around two years preparation to obtain appropriate permits and planning permission, the weir was removed.
To remove the weir, a small section is first removed to allow the water on either side to level up. At Slitting Mill Weir the impoundment was so large this took 3 hours! After this excavators removed further material and evened out the bed levels. © DCRT
The weir was removed using an excavator and the beautiful local cut stone from the crest was salvaged for use by the estate. We opted to leave the stones on the ends of the weir in place, to act as bank protection and to serve as a reminder of where the weir used to be.
Watch the timelape below of the removal
The river after Slitting Mill Weir was removed, looking upstream. You can see from the banks how far the water levels dropped – nature soon repaired the bare banks. © DCRT
DCRT and our citizen science volunteers carried out base line monitoring of the invertebrates in this stretch of the river, to assess what impact the removal had. Before the removal, samples were consistent with still water or ponds. Now that the weir is gone, the river can flow more naturally.
The river after Slitting Mill Weir was removed, looking upstream. Faster flowing water removed sediment and created a gravel bar, a natural feature in an upland river. © DCRT