Not so very long ago however, Coultershaw Bridge was a far busier place - a minor hub of Sussex industry. It was also the location of a piece of eighteenth century engineering magic - now restored to full working condition.
Coultershaw MillThe powerful waters of the River Rother (technically the Rother Navigation) proved an irresistable force over the centuries - or at least a force which could be used to drive heavy machinery. There have been mills here since at least the 16th century and probably before then too.
The attractive stone-built corn mill at Coultershaw Bridge burned down in 1923 and was replaced by a grimly ugly spartan concrete building until 1972 when milling ceased at Coultershaw.
Happily for history lovers, the intrepid members of the Sussex Archaeological Society salvaged the historic beam pump which lay in the heart of the abandoned mill and set about restoring it and turning it into a visitor attraction.
Coultershaw Beam PumpWhen it was built in 1782 Coultershaw Beam Pump was an incredibly ambitious undertaking.
The 3rd Earl of Egremont was a remarkable man in many ways and one of the ways in which his ability shone through was the many improvements he made to the farming practices on his estates around Petworth.
One of the methods he was keen to employ was modern irrigation. So the Earl commissioned a great pumping station to pump water uphill from the River Rother at Coultershaw Bridge to Petworth, over a mile to the north and significantly uphill from the river.
Coultershaw Beam Pump is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. The Beam Pump it is cared for by the The Coultershaw Trust and there is a small visitor centre at the site. You can also walk around the area and look at the sluice gates and other heavy river machinery in action.
The Beam Pump is open alternate Sundays in the summer and also on Bank Holidays.
If you're a lover of industrial archaeology, then it's worth looking out for the days when you can visit Coultershaw.
- Heath End
- Lavington Common and Merlin's Wood
- The closed Pulborough, Petworth and Midhurst Railway station at Coultershaw Bridge
- Selham village and church
- Bed and breakfast and hotel rooms near Petworth
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath