Built in 1736 by George Ibbotson, the Wheel was used initially for cutlery grinding and later wire drawing. By 1905 the Wheel was out of use.
The small mill dam is silted and overgrown, with a stream flowing through. Few traces of the buildings remain. Water can usually be seen cascading into the wheel pit and then flows directly into the head goit of Second Coppice Wheel.
The Upper Coppice weir is immediately below the Grade II listed Packhorse Bridge, which dates from about 1775 and carried the packhorse track from Crosspool to Stannington.
History (C. 1730s–1900s)
Main trades: Cutlery grinding, wire drawing.
Upper Coppice Wheel was built in 1736 by George Ibbotson after he had leased the land from the Duke of Norfolk for 21 years. The next recorded lease was to Thomas Spooner in 1761 and the mill stayed in the hands of the Spooner Family for the next 33 years. In 1794 the wheel pit was recorded as having a 12 ft (c. 3.6 m) fall of water, running four trows with six people employed.
There was extensive renovation work, including a new waterwheel, in the early 19th century. The Duke of Norfolk Estates remained the owners until 1854 when Sheffield Waterworks Company acquired all of the Coppice Wheels, and at which time the Upper Coppice was leased as a wire mill to Samuel Fox & William Rose. The mill was out of use by 1905.
What's there now?
The block-stone weir is in poor condition at the south side. The short head goit is culverted under the path by the weir and joined here by the tail goit from Rivelin Corn Mill (next upstream), which is carried in a tunnel underneath Rails Road. The small mill dam is silted and overgrown, with a stream flowing through.
Few traces of the buildings remain and the fall of water at the wheel pit has reduced from 12 ft (c. 3.6 m) to around 5 ft (c. 1.5 m) due to infilling with debris. The small overflow is alongside the wheel pit and the stonework of both is still in a fair condition. The water from the overflow now joins the water flowing into the wheel pit and runs directly into the head goit of the Second Coppice Wheel. At one time the overflow and tail goit would have run separately, with the water from the overflow running into a culvert under the path and flowing into the head goit lower down – this culvert can still be seen.
Just above the Upper Coppice weir stands the Grade II listed Packhorse Bridge, which is only about 1 m wide and with walls 60 cm high. This dates from about 1775 and carried the packhorse track from Crosspool to Stannington. Look for the iron clamps holding the stones along the top together.
Look out for the cast-iron mill marker commissioned by the RVCG and designed by Sheffield sculptor Roger Gibson to represent various aspects of the valley – a wheel is mounted on a plinth that depicts a seed-pod emerging from the ground, with flowing water cascading downwards over weirs. Four markers were installed in the valley in 2007: the marker here depicts a spoon, the marker at Hind Wheel a fork, that at Walkley Bank Tilt a scythe blade and at Rivelin Corn Mill an ear of corn.
Nature and wildlife at Upper Coppice Wheel
The small Upper Coppice mill dam is silted, overgrown and well shaded, but there is a distinct stream flowing through it. In 2002 the RVCG introduced a small amount of open water to the dam by digging a pond in the centre and cleaning out around the overflow. The overflow itself was also raised and bricked up to divert the water across to the wheel pit. This raised the water level by around four inches but the mud has since slid forward and nearly filled the dam again.
Just downstream from here is the deep pool used for years by local youths for jumping into the river and swimming. Here something of the geology of the area can be seen. The thick beds of resistant sandstone like the one forming the waterfall (Heyden Rock) alternate with softer shales which are easily eroded and in which the deep pool is formed.
Birds recorded in this area include Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Great spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper.