Project Info


The River Wye



LOWV walks - Carey Mill and Islands


Brockhampton, Thursday, 15th June

The River Wye Preservation Trust

A walk visiting the site of Carey mill at Carey Islands and the old Ballingham railway bridge.

by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Jeremy Clay and Mr and Mrs John Williams


speakers: -

Heather Hurley
P J Pikes
David Lovelace
Tim Jessop

and John Williams of Aramstone


Capler Hill from the foot of the path down to the river



Heather Hurley speaking on the history of the area



Quarry: an estate quarry, but further upstream are the overgrown quarries of the Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral. Accounts of 1789 record payments ‘for raising stone, carriage of timber and stone, and haulage of stone’ from Capler Quarry to Hereford Cathedral for the reconstruction of the west tower which had collapsed in 1786. Further entries include stone from Capler used for the Vicars Choir in 1803, the tower in 1843 and the Choir in 1847.



Cattle on the opposite side of the river in Ballingham



the group walking towards Carey Islands



Tim Jessop talking about the history and state of Salmon fishing on the Wye



The Carey Islands provided a natural site for a corn mill that was in existence since at least the 13th century when it was mentioned in the charters of St. Guthlac’s Priory.



looking back, upstream towards Capler Hill. In a lease of 1528 it was described as ‘Two water mills constructed under one building called Cary mills with the weir and fishing’ and a lease of 1588 allowed the tenant to ‘cutte downe sufficient tymber trees……..in the sayde wood called Carie Wood for and towards the newe buildings , repairing, mayntayning and mending of the saide myll scite’.  A later lease to William Scudamore in 1608 was a ‘part in a water corn mill called Carie Mill’ for one penny if demanded.

Carey Forge

In 1627 Sir John Kyrle of Much Marcle, Sir John Scudamore of Holme Lacy and William Scudamore of Ballingham entered into a partnership to build and run an iron forge at Carey Mills. A year later Articles of Agreement were made between the two Scudamores to erect ‘ an Iron myll or forge with all howses and other necessarie buildings for the use of the same shall be with as much  convenient speede as may be made…………at or neere a mill called Cary Mill upon the River of Wye’. The forge was completed in 1629 for the cost of £632 2s 9d and ‘The Charge of making a ton of Bar Iron at Carey Forge’ in 1630 was 15s 8d. This was transported to Bristol for the smiths to produce, nails, horseshoes, tools, weapons and agricultural implements.

It is not known how long the iron forge was in production, but in the ‘Survey of the River Wye and Lugg’ of 1697 the site was called ‘Cary Weir and Mills’ and  on Taylor’s map of 1763 it is called ‘Cary Old Mill’. John Woodhouse inherited the Aramstone estate and  purchased the remains of Carey Mill which was occupied by Joseph Terry in 1812 , by Thomas Preece and William Cleeton in 1847 when known as the ‘cottage down through the wood’, and since becoming vacant, around 1870, only the foundations of the house remained to be identified in 1984.

Scatter of stones on one of the islands.



This pronounced linear hollow downstream of the mill site is almost certainly associated with the mill in some way.



John Williams of Aramstone talks on the history of the estate



Careyboat: was one of several former river crossings from Ballingham known earlier as James Ford and became Careybridge after the construction of the Hereford, Ross, Gloucester Railway in 1855.  Ford Road in Ballingham led to Yearly’s Boat in 1780 which crossed the Wye just below Carey Islands. This cottage, known to have been the ferryman’s, house was owned by the ‘ River Wye Towing Path Company’ in 1847 and occupied by Samuel Terry. It is known to have been a ‘doss house’ for the bargees.



Ballingham Bridge





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maintained by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd


This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.