The Mill Birth and Wellbeing Centre, near Peterborough, will become one of the first sustainable venues of its kind in the UK, with work recently completed to reinstate a working water wheel on-site to generate its own green energy.
Situated in the village of Duddington, The Mill is a beautifully refurbished Grade II listed building sitting on the banks of the River Welland. Built in 1664, it offers a wealth of history and original features, but sadly its original water wheel had disintegrated through age many years ago.
In 2021, The Mill was sympathetically restored and reopened as a Birth and Wellbeing Centre for the benefit of the local community. Now the venue is host to a range of activities; including massage, sport and remedial therapies, beauty and spa treatments, counselling, antenatal classes, baby groups and much more.
“Our aim was always to rescue this unique landmark and save it for future generations,” explains Alexandra Constant, owner and founder of the Wellbeing Centre. “Reinstating a working water wheel was a core ambition of what we wanted to achieve. We were keen to reflect the original purpose of the building and continue to build upon our centre’s environmental credentials.”
The new wheel was designed bespoke by a specialist firm, Renewables First, who incorporated innovative technologies alongside traditional techniques. The construction team was P Bluett Ltd, and the project group followed guidance from the Environment Agency. The wheel was installed in March 2022, and started operating on the 21st March, with final landscaping of the island next to the stream completed in April.
Stretching nearly 4m in diameter, the new water wheel is designed to rotate slowly at 10rpm and pass about one tonne of water per second. It has a steel frame with sustainably sourced larch paddles, and will produce over 30,000 kWh energy per year – enough to power around eight homes. This will enable the entire Wellbeing Centre to be powered by its own green energy – and even create a surplus to go back into the grid.
The water wheel project is part of a wider commitment from The Mill team to the environment. The scheme will also incorporate a multi-species fish and eel pass to enable water wildlife to migrate upstream to access their historic habitats, helping to restore natural populations. Plans are also in place for rewilding the miniature island next to the stream to boost habitats for wildlife.
“We are delighted to be able to generate our own green energy and restore the water wheel back to working status,” explains Alexandra. “This fits so well with our aims to have a positive impact on the local environment, wildlife, and the surrounding community. We hope visitors to The Mill will enjoy seeing the restored building – we pride ourselves on being one of the most unique sites in the UK for wellbeing services!”
In addition to the installation of the working water wheel, The Mill has exciting plans for 2022 onwards – including creating further spaces for feeding and changing your baby in comfort, and rooms offering full disabled access and facilities.
The Mill Birth and Wellbeing Centre (PE9 3QG) is located just off the A47 in the village of Duddington, just 10 minutes from Stamford and 20 minutes from Peterborough. Parking is available on-site.
- Call 01780 444400
- Visit www.themillwellbeing.co.uk