Rivelin Valley Conservation Group
Hind Wheel is a good spot for a picnic or just to sit quietly and watch for Dippers or Heron feeding in the river above the ford or for a Treecreeper searching the bark for grubs. This mill dam is also a haven for dragonflies and at dusk one of the many popular feeding places for the large number of bats within the valley. Great Woodrush grows in abundance on the bank opposite the overflow.
The mill dam was dredged for fishing in 1967, at which time a Carp weighing over 30 lbs was rescued. It is still used for fishing, but after losing most of the fish in the 1990s when the shuttle gate gave way and the water drained out, it is mostly now stocked with small trout. As a result of the heavy storms in the winter of 2013–14, a hole formed in the dam wall near to the overflow. This was quickly and expertly repaired by a member of the RVCG, thereby averting a collapse.
About half way round the mill dam a narrow stream that originates higher up the hill on Bell Hagg, runs down the steep bank on the far side of the river. A Whitebeam has fallen across the river here – look for clusters of white flowers in spring and reddish fruits in autumn.
The delta of silt forming at the inlet-end of the mill dam is overgrown with plants including Brooklime, Figwort, Forget-me-not, Great Hairy Willowherb and Iris, with Horsetails expanding into the open water. When the mills were in operation the horsetails were regularly cleared from the mill dams in the valley.
In 2012, the invasive plant Floating Pennywort was found in the Hind Wheel mill dam. A native of North America, it was first found naturalised in Essex in 1990 (probably discarded from a garden pond), and is now rapidly increasing across the country as it is easily spread from small fragments. Left unchecked, this plant can completely choke waterways, and so attempts are being made to control its spread. If you see any Floating Pennywort elsewhere in the Rivelin Valley, even small plants, please let us know so that we can take appropriate action to remove it.
A Bird Cherry tree and Pink Purslane grow on the bank to the right of the path a short distance upstream of the weir.