The Hammer Wheels – Each of the two hammers has its own water wheel. Both are breast shot wheels constructed from cast iron rings with wooden paddles that fit closely inside the ashlar stone wheel pits. Water enters at axle level and the paddle sections act just like buckets.
Both wheels have been roofed over in the late 1990s to reduce the problem of the wood decaying through being wet for a day or so each week and then drying out in the sun. These roofs have been built to match existing holes in the structure and so no alterations to the forge walls were required – a very important fact as there is very little proof of original roofs over the wheels.
No. 1 Wheel – this is the narrower of the wheels and is built around a single iron ring. The original wheel installed around 1680 would be entirely wooden. Each generation has broken, repaired and updated the wheel with current technology.
No. 2 Wheel – was probably installed in 1840s when axle-making started. We have calculated its power out put at about 8HP.
Our third water wheel drives an air pump which blew air for the reheating furnaces and also for the blacksmiths’ hearths in the workshops.