Steam on the Estate

Waterwheel and beam engine barn

Running large estates required varied machinery including waterwheels and steam sawmills.

In a hollow at the lower end of the Lime Walk is a stone building adjoining a large overtype waterwheel.

Inside is a beam engine, a type central to the development of steam power and the Industrial Revolution. This engine dates from around 1850 and has been restored to working order, in a setting similar to that in which it is thought to have worked when new.

It was used by a large farm in the North-East of England where it was employed to drive a fixed threshing machine in a barn, along with other mills and equipment by means of a line shaft and belts. There are stories that the engine took over the task of driving a threshing machine from an older waterwheel, after augmenting it initially. The beam engine has been restored and is provided with low pressure steam from an adjacent egg-ended boiler, and is demonstrated regularly on open Sundays.

The waterwheel came to Hollycombe from a farm in nearby Bramshott, prior to which it worked in Cornwall.