A SURVEY to highlight part of Wem's rich industrial history has taken palace.

As part of a long-term strategy to identify, record and analyse the town’s rich archaeological and historic heritage, local resident Dr George Nash organised an archaeological walkover survey in an area west of Mill Street, opposite Wem Mill.

The survey was taken over two days and was undertaken by a team of local school children, students and retired professionals.

The volunteers recorded 12 new sites that were previously not present on Shropshire Council’s Historic Environment Record (HER) and include Mill Cottage, watercourses, a stone bridge, Mill House, several stone bridges and parapets along Mill Street and a dressed stone gate pillar.

Based on historic mapping, it has been realised that a number of processing buildings and a complex water management system existed opposite Wem Mill during the 19th and 20th centuries.

"The data recorded from the walkover survey will now be transcribed and sent to the Historic Environment Record," said Dr Nash.

"The recording of these and other sites within this archaeologically-rich area will provide a better understanding of the historic complexity of the mill and the water system used to drive initially its waterwheel and later, its turbines."

The survey also identified the way seasonal waterflow was managed between Loppington and Wem. Recent vandalism to a bridge within one of many watercourses that flow to the north of the River Roden uncovered the remains of an early bridge that is believed to date from the 17th century.

"Observations show that this stretch of the Roden was probably navigable from the early 17th century," added Dr Nash. "It would have carried watercraft laden with corn and produce up and down the Roden for at least 200 years.

"The success of this walkover project will hopefully spur on other similar projects throughout the two and beyond."