The main house and farm at Old Walls have been powered by green electricity since 1936 from a small plant on the West Webburn River. However the full potential of the river was not fully used – only enough energy was created to supply the power needed on the holding.
Old Walls Hydro
Miles, who grew up at Old Walls, has been interested and enthused by waterpower since his childhood and recognised the potential of the river to generate far more power than it did for so many years.
In 1995 we began a brand new micro-hydro development on the same site and created Old Walls Hydro. The new plant uses the maximum head of water from the river, within the boundaries of Old Walls Farm and generates enough electricity to supply approximately 80 homes with clean, green power.
Waterleat Walks & Talks
The construction of Old Walls Hydro sparked interest amongst many local people and primary schools nearby. They were invited to visit the site and have since asked to come back and see the new developments and energy generation in operation.
It is because of this demand that we set up Waterleat Walks & Talks and opened up Old Walls Hydro as an educational resource and site of interest for many groups.
Demand for visits has also come from landowners, farmers and homeowners with river frontage who wanted to see the process of renewable energy generation from waterpower. Many of these people have been enthused by the hydro plant and want to create their own green electricity from water on their land. We were presented with the Dartmoor First Award for our commitment to sustaining Dartmoor and its special qualities.
One of the homes powered by Old Walls Hydro is Waterleat Lodge, built by us over many years, when time away from the farm allowed. It is situated on Old Walls Farm near the leat.
Waterleat Lodge has been designed to make full use of the home generated electricity, the only exception being the heat from a wood burner for the winter months, but home grown wood is used in it!
History of Old Walls Farm
Old Walls Farm has been in the family since 1946 when Miles’ grandfather bought the property. Miles’ parents then farmed it with dairy cows, and Miles was born here during that time. He moved to live just a mile and a half away as tenant of Lowertown Farm, a bigger farm, after he married Gail. Miles is actively involved with both farms.
Old Walls house is now home to Yvette and Chris, our daughter and son-in-law, and their two children Dylan and Ivy, who are now the fifth generation of our family to live there.