Water power is being used again at an ancient corn mill in Skipton where the 200-year-old water wheel has been restored to working order.
The nearby Eller Beck, which drives the wheel, is also to be used to power a new £35,000 turbine which will create enough electricity to power 20 homes.
The electricity generated at High Corn Mill in Chapel Hill – a grade II listed building dating back to 1310 – will be supplied to the national grid.
It is part of a £200,000 restoration project by joint owner Andrew Mear, who believes in the long-term enough energy could be generated to feed the whole mill.
When the work is completed in October, the new turbine and waterwheel will become the centrepiece of the mill’s Historical Innovation Zone.
The project involves extracting water from Eller Beck, driving it through the turbine and over the waterwheel and then redirecting it back into the beck.
Visitors to the mill, which is home to ten businesses, will be shown how the old wheel and the new turbine are based on the same principle of water power.
“We want to show how re-visiting old technology and using it today is still relevant,” said Mr Mear.
“Wind turbines are becoming more important and there is also room for water power.
“Historically, this mill has been carbon neutral – it was always able to power itself.
“Even in the early 1970s when there were big power cuts and the three-day week, this mill was working full time. When Skipton was without power, this was the only place still working and grinding
“And as far back as the 1950s a turbine was situated in the mill producing renewable hydro-electric power.
“In this day and age being environmentally friendly is no longer a luxury. We want to show that anyone can make a difference if they’re determined enough.”
Mr Mear’s father bought the mill in 1990. Up until that time it had been regularly grinding corn since the early 1300s when it was owned by the Clifford family, who owned Skipton Castle.
It was bought from the castle estate in 1954 when it was revived as a seed merchants business.