Thursday, 12 July 2018

Howsham Mill, on the River Derwent near Kirkham Abbey.


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Howsham Mill

I decided to visit a place I had never been to, Howsham Mill.

It is a restored watermill and sits on an island in the middle of the River Derwent. I traveled via Leavening where I saw the magnificent view from high above the village looking west over low hills to the plain of York. A panoramic sight. Arriving at Howsham I took George for a walk along the riverside to the mill. The scene was idyllic, lots of tall wild flowers and the sound, the only sound  being from turbulent water cascading over various weirs. Two huge Archimedian screws  are positioned at one side of the mill, one was turning a massive gearbox driven, purely by the force of water. I walked to an adjacent swing bridge and looked down at a stream bed which, due to the dry weather comprised now of some trapped, isolated ponds. Suddenly, two kingfishers flew past, their iridescent electric blue rumps shining brightly. The peace of the place was wonderful. Here otters can be seen occasionally testifying to the condition of the river. Wild, yellow water lilies embraced the river margins and long strands of sinuous water plants seemed to be alive as the strong current eddied past. Banded demoiselles danced all around on their strange large wings looking rather like water spirits, a vision of blue. The mill is beautiful though proved rather difficult to paint, as dense vegetation precluded any distant views. So, I set up a little closer than I wanted. As I painted my setup started to sink into the sandy soil which became distracting. Three young people came along and shared ideas about where to swim safely and where to use kayaks. Having achieved as much as I could I headed off, back down the track, past huge Himalayan Balsam, willowherb and wild geraniums, past tall grasses now very pale stems holding masses of seeds. 


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