Inside Knowles Mill Near Bewdley
Knowles Mill is a National Trust site located near the heart of the Wyre Forest, but despite its' remote location, it is easy to get to thanks to a Natural England car park at the end of Dry Mill Lane in Bewdley, then about a 20 minute walk along the Dowles Brook valley.
Whilst the water wheel pit remains in fairly good condition, the same cannot be said for the water wheel itself, of which only the cast iron frame remains, and that is not assembled. Inside the mill, which is extremely dark, is a vertical oak shaft which was driven by bevel gears from the water wheel. The large horizontal pinion that can be seen would have driven 2 smaller pinions on vertical shafts (right hand one just visible in the murk) running through the centre of the millstones sitting on the first floor.
Higher up the main oak shaft is a wooden crown wheel which appears to still have some of its' wooden teeth. This used to drive a meal dresser.
Although the path from the car park to Knowles Mill is an easy walk, the valley does flood occassionally. The last serious flood was in 2007 when, according to level markers on the door frame of the mill, the water reached a height of over 5 feet above the floor level!
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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.