Hidden away in an inconspicuous building wedged between the adjoining house and High Mill itself, is a large 21ft diameter waterwheel. It has been opened up for visitors on various occasions like bank holidays and on market days last year, but otherwise it remains out of sight.
The owner has written to both Alston Moor Partnership and the Parish Council offering to transfer ownership of the Wheelhouse to one or other organisation on the basis that it remains in community ownership. As a result of this offer, representatives of AMP met with Parish Councillors to decide how to respond.

The Partnership felt that it would be worth investigating whether it was possible to acquire the mill building in addition to the Wheelhouse. A regeneration project that included both buildings could bring big economic benefits if developed as a visitor attraction that would encourage more people to come and spend money in Alston’s shops, pubs and cafes. The Parish Councillors present were supportive of the idea but made clear they were not interested in taking on a potentially bigger project to include the mill building themselves.

​It therefore made sense for AMP to take on the Wheelhouse as a first step towards a potentially larger scheme, for which we would seek grant funding. As we have no income other than grants for specific projects, we have asked the Parish Council to support us by paying the small ongoing costs (of insurance and maintenance) for the immediate future. This will keep the Wheelhouse as it is now, without serious deterioration, until grant funding can be secured.

This proposal was put to AMP’s April Board meeting and now awaits the outcome of the Parish Council meeting on Monday.