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Spectacular waterwheel returns to Coniston’s copper mines valley

Work to reinstall a giant waterwheel at a picturesque Lake District sawmill-turned mountain cottage is almost complete, after permission to restore the original feature was granted by Heritage England.

The wheel – measuring 32 feet in diameter, is being built at the original home of the industrial feature – a former Victorian sawmill in Coniston’s Coppermines valley. Integral to the mill’s operation from 1850, it was removed from the building when the mine ceased operations in around 1890.

The wheel provided power to the sawmill which was used to create flooring sections for the mine shafts – many of which were up to 15 feet wide, vertical drops.

The forthcoming welcome return of the wheel adds to the charm of the sympathetically converted traditional cottages, now used as visitor accommodation by its owners, The Coppermines Lakes Cottages company.

Coppermines Lakes Cottages Managing Director Phil Johnson says, “When the opportunity came knocking for us to restore this beautiful original feature, we couldn’t say no. There’s no doubt that this decision will be welcomed by everybody, from local historians to guests. My team is already well-on with the work and I expect it to really come together in the next two weeks or so. We’re all really excited to be able to create more visual interest around this former industrial site, since deemed a site of special scientific interest. I’m also really pleased to say that with the exception of one brilliant local contractor, all the work is being handled by my existing team members.”

Waterwheel takes shape

Frequently used as a popular wedding venue, the return of the waterwheel to The Coppermines Lakes Cottages’ mountain location makes for a stunning addition and focal point for photographs of the bride and groom against the already memorable backdrop of the Coniston fells.

Coppermines Valley

Set in the heart of the majestic Coppermines Valley, Sawyers Cottage is one of four adjoined cottages, licensed for both civil ceremonies and civil partnerships. With weddings held there since 2010, its large reception room can comfortably hold 50 people seated, while further guests are able to view the ceremony from outside through the wide entrance double doors with the use of an extra pagoda marquee.

Rebecca Forsman, of The Coppermines Lakes Cottages, says, “We can guarantee that no two weddings held at The Coppermines are ever the same. Given the unique setting the Coppermines Valley offers a beautiful backdrop whatever the season and provides numerous outdoor opportunities for wedding photographs. The new addition of the waterwheel is one which we’re very excited about; and we know our guests will be too!”

For a closer look, check out a 360 degree tour of the Coppermines Mountain Cottages here.

More information about The Coppermines Lakes Cottages is here.

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