This Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project focuses on the wonderful and unique industrial heritage of the Tillingbourne Valley, encouraging the villages along the valley to research and record its unique industrial past that has stamped its character on their communities.
The Tillingbourne, situated in the Surrey Hills, was one of the most industrialized river valleys in 17th century England. Much of its milling had origins since at least the time of Domesday in 1086, with some of its production (such as gunpowder at Chilworth) of national importance up until the First World War.
Stretching from its source at Leith Hill to where the river converges with the Wey at Shalford, the Tillingbourne’s 11 miles of constant flow led to centuries of exploitation. With approximately 50 water wheels at its height, powering 24 known mills and supporting 12 different industries at various periods in time, including weaving, tanning, iron-working, paper-milling and gunpowder production, the valley’s idyllic landscape holds a significant legacy of cultural heritage.