Hadleigh Marshes in flood

Old water courses

There is a debate about the possible location of the Tide Mill. There are two possible locations for its water way, as far as I can deduce, with one of them being more probable.

First, a waterway meandered inland under the hills known as Potters in the Hole. It is shown on OS maps of 1805 era. This entered through a marsh delta immediately to the east of Pyenetts Dock. The old sea walls around this indent can still be seen – see my article about dock – from the new and exceedingly high sea wall. I photographed the old water course a couple of years ago while walking back from the Island Yacht Club to Hadleigh – a long way! The indent and borrow dykes can be seen too.

(Question: how long can we logically keep the sea back along here…?   What a wonderful Olympic legacy this would have been if the old salt marsh had been re-flooded in a planned systematic scheme…)

Another waterway ran inland from Leigh Creek from a point where the marshes still indent the sea wall in a large triangular shape approximately half way along the adjacent Two Tree Island shore. It then ran westwards beneath the castle and probably had its source in the valley where the faced reservoir is located. This I believe is the old Mill Stream. There was another much smaller stream that ran inland and behind Castle Hill.

On an 1805 OS map a building is shown directly below the castle in line with the stream. It sits on the edge of a curving pathway or track that, strangely, leads to the general location of General Booth’s wharf, of 85 years later, in Hadleigh Ray at the western end of Two Tree Island. Is this building the Mill?

Incidentally, an 1897-8 OS map shows the path or track still running across the marsh. It then ran a little to the east of General Booth’s wharf. It looks as if it was realigned with the tramway that wound around the back of Castle Hill along part of its route. The path appears to correlate with the location of the present ford across to Two Tree Island too. It is known that a wharf existed in Leigh Creek long before this period. The pathway mentioned could have led to this? The island was still in two main parts in those days and the creek was deeper and wider.

The paths, creeks and rills have been muzzled by man… wetness allows us see the watercourses, the rest has been ploughed… covered in salt marsh or modern sea walls.
Without access to harder evidence, I can offer little further to the Mill’s location.

Old water course leading to marsh indent to the west of the location of Pyenetts Dock. Indent and dock area are located 'beneath' the Grain Power Station. Picture taken from the rise on way to Chapel Lane park access.
Nick Ardley

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