The Alderney Society - Watermill Project

The watermill complex project has been gathering volunteers and momentum over the last eight years and is one of the Society's major projects. The watermill complex involves work on the remains of the ancient mill building including wooden mill wheel, mill pond, medieval reservoir and leates channelling water from the reservoir to the mill pond and on to drive the mill wheel.

The Watermill

Preserving the mill and rebuilding it to its former glory, teams of volunteers have been at the site aiding the project and conserving this vital aspect of Alderney's history. If you want to come along and volunteer your help we meet at 10am on Tuesday mornings, or feel free to come visit us and see our progress. The Bonne Terre Watermill Complex is one the oldest surviving sites on Alderney. The earliest record of the Mill is circa 1236 associating the mill to the Bishop of Coutance. The present ruins are the remains of a mill rebuilt in 1796.

The Mill

  • Is situated in the Bonne Terre valley
  • Has a marker stone dated 1796
  • Was mostly used for milling cattle feed, and brewing grains
  • Was last operated in 1913
  • Was dismantled in 1961

Background Information

The Mill and adjoining lands were given to the Alderney Society by the Impey family in 1972. For over 20 years the buildings were allowed to become derelict and overgrown. In 1994 the Society decided to make the regeneration of the Mill a priority and a small amount of funding was budgeted to begin the project. Volunteers began the laborious task of cutting back the brambles and undergrowth and get access to the mill.

In the intervening years teams of volunteers have continued the renovating work. The leat (the aqueduct brining water from the mill pond to the wheel) has been partly rebuilt. The millwheel has been dug out, cleaned, repainted and strengthened. The main mill shaft has been rebuilt as has the drive wheel and the stonework supporting the millwheel. The wooden buckets for the wheel are currently being fitted, and new arms to replace the temporary arms are being installed. Work on rebuilding the mill building is progressing and all the while the site around the mill is being improved.

All of these works are being done by a small group of aging volunteers who meet at the mill at 10.00 on Tuesday mornings. The team is eager for new members and anyone wanting to lend a hand is welcomed to join. If you are visiting the Island a visit to the water mill and a walk up the Bonne Terre valley is an enjoyable trip.