Monday, 31 December 2012

Here's to another succesful year

As 2012 draws to a close it's time to reflect and consider what was good about 2012 and what we can do to make 2013 even better.

The past year was our fourth full year of running and and a year where we were able to start giving money to our community, this will continue next year when our goal will be to grant even more money than 2012 - the way the weather has been recently and the amount of rain in our rivers that is definitely achievable.

The year was also our most productive from a renewable energy point of view and surprisingly one of our wettest months in that time was July when the Hydro is normally stationary with the rivers Sett and Goyt being much drier.

'Archie' couldn't do any of this without the fantastic support we get from our share holders, volunteers and the local community.

The Directors and volunteers at Torrs Hydro hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas holiday and look forward to seeing everyone in the New year at our next open day.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Torrs Hydro - Tripadvisor

I'm sure many of you out there have used Tripadvisor to find out the best places to stay or eat or visit, well now 'Archie' has got his own little spot on there.

So if you have ever visited Archie or been on an open day and would like to give some feedback please feel free.

Also thank you to those that have fed back relating to any noises heard in the Torrs Riverside park

Monday, 17 December 2012

What's that noise?

We are currently helping with some investigations relating to 'noise' heard from the Torrs Riverside Park area around Archie.

Our investigations have been ongoing on and off for a couple of years and have resulted in changes in the way the Hydro is operated and noise surveys with HPBC to determine not only if it could be from Archie but also looking at any other things that may be causing noises in the area - other than pub closing times!

The noises when reported do not appear to have a pattern and can often be when the Hydro is switched off.

If you do hear anything or have any thoughts please drop an email to 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Community funding requests

Early in the New year Torrs Hydro will be discussing the next round of Community funding, this is where we review requests for funding from local groups - whilst we currently have a few requests to review we would like to see more, so if you are part of a local group that would benefit from some additional funding please email explaining what you would do with the funding and how your group/activity benefits our community.

Torrs Hydro Director Sean Whewell handing over
much needed funding to Ed Mountifield
at New Mills Volunteer Centre 
Earlier today Torrs Hydro were able to give the New Mills Volunteer Centre £100 to help them maintain the fantastic service they provide to New Mills and the surrounding area

New Mills and District Volunteer Centre has been successfully operating since 1983. The organisation was originally registered as a charity in August 1985 and became a Company by guarantee in February 2003. We directly promote the welfare and community involvement of people who have needs arising from being elderly, disabled, physically or mentally ill, house-bound, isolated, visually or hearing impaired, or from learning difficulties. This is accomplished through the actions of our 130 volunteers. New Mills is a semi-rural area and social isolation is a major problem.

The services we provide, and the social groups we run, are predominantly aimed at older people, although not exclusively so. Our transport scheme is for local residents who have difficulty attending hospital or doctor's appointments. They are accompanied door-to-door by a volunteer driver. We undertook almost 4000 trips this year and have over 900 clients. Our shopping service - where volunteers collect a shopping list and deliver groceries to the client’s home – is also aimed at those who are unable to shop for themselves due to age or infirmity. We deliver shopping to clients about 500 times a year and need to expand this service to meet demand. 

These are essential services in helping local people retain an independent life in their own homes. Our weekly shopping trips to local towns and markets are also for the elderly and infirm. The minibus we hire picks up clients at their home and is equipped to take 16 passengers which can include four wheelchairs. Again, volunteers act as escorts door-to-door.  Volunteers are integral for our befriending, gardening and simple DIY repair services we provide. One of the most important aspects of the centre is to get socially isolated people back into the community by using our existing social groups to create new friendships - '60 Not Out', stroke support group, handicraft group and Hayfield Over 60s give clients a support network and the opportunity to form friendships with their peers. 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

December 30 - Open Day

Archie is going to have an open day from 1-3pm on Sunday 30 December.

Normally we don't have open days during the 'winter' months but because of the growing number of people that go out walking through New Mills and surrounding areas during Christmas and New Year we thought we would give it a try.

We may have hot drinks available - watch this space !

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

United Utilities

Torrs Hydro met with United Utilities yesterday to better understand the work that is currently taking place in New Mills and the benefits that it will give to the whole area.

We will post some pictures and a summary later in the week. 

Some amazing facts came to light and just shows how much water New Mills uses - on average during a normal dry day (not raining) the pumping station dealing with New Mills waste (sewage, industry, baths, sinks) deal with 45 litres per second - that's roughly one bath full every second, in wet weather conditions this can then increase to over 200 litres per second and it all has to be processed the same way.

Fix my street - please...

We live in a great town (New Mills) but sometimes you see things that need 'fixing' and you don't know who is responsible : Town Council, County Council or any of the other governing bodies that make up our society.

I've started using a service called 'Fix My Street' which takes all the guess work out of that - you put in your postcode, it comes up with a map where you can pinpoint where a [problem is and even add a photograph - the service covers absolutely everything from road problems, street lighting, graffiti, wheely bin issues - you name it you can put it on there.

My experience so far of it has been good, with email responses and street lights being fixed and even drains being unblocked - see if it works for you.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Busy weekend in new Mills

Well now that Archie is busy lighting up the Co-op again (despite United Utilities still pumping sewage into our beautiful rivers) we can concentrate for a few days on enjoying ourselves and preparing for Christmas - last Monday was a great evening for teh Christmas Tree light switch on with hundreds of people getting into the festive spirit with some great live music, fair ground rides and lots of mulled wine around - the rain managed to hold off - next year we WILL have snow !

This weekend we have Manchester's finest Terry Christian appearing at Spring Bank Arts on Saturday 1st - its great to see New Mills now attracting major names in TV - tickets available at High Street Books or if there are some available pay on the door - £10 (£8 concessions)

Also on Saturday evening The Gallery in New Mills has an open evening until 9pm - its an ideal opportunity to meet some talented local artists and maybe buy those Christmas presents you will soon be panicking about - and maybe grab a glass of wine - there are some beautiful paintings, jewellery, furniture and many ideas for those unique gifts you  can never find.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Christmas in New Mills

Its great seeing the Christmas trees and decorations that are now decorating the town centre, a treemendous (see what I did there) amount of effort goes in each year to make our town look great.

The official lights switch on next Monday (6:15pm) 26th is a great focal point with late night shopping, live music from New Mills Band and High Peak Samba, Christmas Carols from St Georges school, Father Christmas, mince pies and mulled wine and fairground rides it should be a great evening for everyone - make sure you wear a Christmas hat!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A spot of housekeeping

This week we had a digger and dumper truck on site at the Hydro to do a spot of housekeeping before what we hope will be a long wet Autumn-Winter-Spring.

The intake had over 100 tonnes of debris removed includes the usual traffic cones, scooter and other assorted river trash.

All we need now is some rain and Archie is good to go again.

Rood End Primary School

The Derbyshire Autumn weather was kind to  the 42 Y6 students from Rood End School in Oldbury, West Midlands. 

As well as finding out everything you need to know about Hydro Electricity and renewable energy the students also visited New Mills Heritage Centre, walked along the river Goyt and took in stunning views of Kinder Scout from Spring Bank before lunch back at teh heritage Centre before heading home back down the M6.

We look forward to welcoming more students form the school later in November.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Community funding

Torrs Hydro would like to award some more funds to our community over the next few weeks.

If you are part of a New Mills based group or club and would like to apply for a small grant please email Torrs Hydro at

It will be good to hear what you would use the money for and how this will benefit our local community.

Earlier this year funding was given to the following groups :

New Mills Community Orchard
New Mills Secondary School Art department
New Mills Heritage Centre
Spring Bank Arts
New Mills Volunteer Centre

Competition winners

There were several winners to Archie's competition to guess how many cups of tea he had produced power for - the answer was at the end of the video to 'Archie' written and performed by New Mills own Write Van men

Prizes (signed copies of Goodbye Watford Bridge Road) - will be in the post to the winners next week.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Competition time for 'Archie'

To celebrate a fantastic New Mills festival and seeing Archie bathed in green and red light on Saturday evening we are going to have a little competition.

The two lucky winners will get signed copies (colectors items already) of Goodbye Watford Bridge Road the CD by Write Van Men that contains the worlds first song about a community owned and run Hydro scheme.

All you have to do is visit listen to the the song about Archie and somewhere in the video it tells you how many cups of tea Archie could have made since starting production.

Answers via email only to - winners will be drawn out of a purple coloured top hat in 10 days time

Good luck

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A busy weekend ahead

Message in a Bottle at Torrs Hydro
This weekend will see up to 5,000 people walk past Archie as part of the New Mills festival lantern parade the climax of an amazing festival of art, music and much much more besides.

Before the lantern parade there will be lots going on down at the Hydro - we have an open day planned from 1-3pm where you can come and take a look behind the scenes, walk down the fish pass and take a look inside the engine house and understand how Archie works.

Artist Amanda Whewell will be on site to talk about the installation 'Message in a Bottle' that is currently sited down at the Hydro as part of the New Mills festival.

Monday, 24 September 2012

...Round and round and round.....

In the words of Write Van Men Archie is going round and round again

After a few day rest and a few hours hard work from the Directors and volunteers Archie is back in business.

 Several hundredweight of stone were moved and once again this Coop lights shine bright.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Archie - Goodbye Watford Bridge Road

Here's the song everyone is talking about - some great lyrics and fantastic footage of Archie - more information on the project which forms part of New Mills festival can be found here

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Goodbye Watford Bridge Road

You know how Archie likes breaking records, well this time he has had one made about him - its one of he catchiest tunes we've heard n a long time.

It's a side project of present, former and occasional White Van Man members The Twad, Frank Seddon, Tony Audenshaw, Bernard Humphrey, John Patterson and guests under the name Write Van Men.

Twad, Frank, Tony and Bernard have written twenty songs with original music, all about the people, places and incidents of New Mills in the High Peak of Derbyshire.

Twelve of the songs will be released on a cd which will be available only in New Mills at Priscillla's, Bartons and Bryan the butchers. The songs will also have a digital release on the 14 records label on iTunes.

The project is part of New Mills Festival 2012 and there will be a live performance of all twenty songs at Spring Bank Arts Centre on Sunday September 23rd - but be quick as here's only a few left and these much sought after tickets can be found in John Bartons emporium in New Mills.

There's so much interest with the album that lead singer Tony is writing a blog which is a great insight into the band, the album and the strange goings on that make New Mills such a special place.

A well earned rest

Some have asked why Archie isn't running at the moment and there's a couple of reasons :

Our beautiful New Mills summer means river levels are much lower than earlier in the year - although looking back this has been our highest summer of renewable energy production since Archie was born.

Secondly at the end of August we had a storm that brought lots of river debris down to the Hydro intake causing a blockage, we are working with the EA to move the debris in time for an expected damp Autumn.

Monday, 10 September 2012

September 29 - Open Day and New Mills festival

Archies next Open Day is on Saturday 29 September from 1-3pm, come and join us as we celebrate New Mills festival.

Archie is one of the venues of the New Mills festival Arts Trail which forms part of the festival with an installation inspired by Archie by local artist Amanda Whewell.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Happy Birthday Archie

Nearly forgot that Archie has been going round  round for four years now providing the Co Op in New Mills with enough power to make 6 million cups of tea.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Open day - New Mills

Our next open afternoon is this Sunday - 17th June. 

Come and see how we generate clean, green energy between 1pm and 3pm. Volunteers from the project will be available to show you around and answer your questions. 

After that, the next will be Saturday 29th September, the same day as the New Mills Festival's lantern parade.

New Mills Millennium Walkway - look out for Herons below

After visiting the Hydro why not talk a walk through the Torrs riverside park, over the Millennium walkway and down to Mousley Bottom to see how the reed beds are developing - can you smell the sweets being made across the river at Swizzels Matlow?

Round your walk off with a visit to the Heritage Centre in New Mills and a nice drink back in one of our pubs or cafes.

Mousley Bottom - look out for the wildlife in the reed beds

Turn your radio on....

Find out what happens to Archie in the rain on High Peak Radio at 11:30 Wednesday morning and on the hour in the news between 7am and 12pm

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Day of Dance : Bollywood or Jitterbug?

Bollywood or Jitterbug?
If your wondering what to do on a rainy High Peak afternoon go along to Spring Bank Arts in New Mills for an amazing afternoon of free dance workshops and demonstrations; whether you prefer to Jitterbug, Bollywood or Brazilian martial arts they have something for you - refreshments available.

That will be followed this evening by a Ceilidh - more details here - tickets available on the door - bar.

Keeping the place nice and tidy

Andrew Bingham helping keep Archie tidy
It was good to see local MP Andrew Bingham down at the Hydro recently to help give the place a Spring clean - anyone else interested in becoming a volunteer please contact

The recent deluge of rain has also brought much debris down the river - once river levels have subsided we will be having a clear up to get Archie spinning again - the first 5 months of this year have been the wettest/busiest since Archie started turning.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Spring Bank Arts

New Mills has a new community arts centre opening tomorrow.

An open day will take place at Spring Bank Arts Centre, Spring Bank, New Mills, on Saturday May 19, from 11am-3pm.

Visitors will be able to view the completed restoration work, pick up a programme of future events and find out more about the volunteering opportunities on offer. Refreshments will also be available.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Open days

Some great turn outs in our last couple of open days, March a beautiful sunny day nearly 21oC and April a bit of a wet miserable day - we had walking groups, picnickers, shareholders, environmentalists and lots of people just passing through and finding us by surprise - it was great to meet you all.

Next Open day is Saturday May 26 : 1-3pm, come and have a day in New Mills and stop for coffee and cake in one of our fine coffee shops.

Plastic river

It really is amazing and disappointing the amount of bottles that flow through the Hydro - when Archie was paused briefly earlier in the week because of high water it was easy to see the sea of plastic which will head down the River Goyt into the River Etherow then the River Mersey and then the sea where they will take 100's of years to decompose.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Open Day - 25 March

Archie's next Open day is next Sunda, 25 March (from 1-3pm) when you can take the opportunity to see behind the scenes and get a high level overview of New Mills world famous Hydro.
Why not make a day of it and come and see the Millennium Walkway, New Mills Heritage Centre, the reed beds at Mousley Bottom, New Mills Original gallery or just chill out with a tea or coffee and cake in one of the five cafes in the centre of New Mills.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Archie can tweet now !

Archie has joined the 21st century and can now tweet - why not follow him !

Archies next Open day - make a day of it

Archie's next Open day is on the 25 March when you can take the opportunity to see behind the scenes and get a high level overview of New Mills world famous Hydro.

Why not make a day of it and come and see the Millennium Walkway, New Mills Heritage Centre, the reed beds at Mousley Bottom, New Mills Original gallery or just chill out with a tea or coffee and cake in one of the five cafes in the centre of New Mills. 


Saturday, 3 March 2012

February - 'leaps' into the record books

Well Archie is on a roll now with February returns the highest February on record for the Hydro with 32985 kWh.

It was also an active month for the Directors and shareholders with a well supported AGM and the announcement to make five donations to local groups from a very generous donation received at the end of last year from Capgemini.

New Mills Volunteer Centre, Spring Bank Arts, New Mills Heritage Centre, New Mills Community Orchard and New Mills School Art department have each received £100

Torrs Hydro Director (Sean Whewell) presenting a cheque to Lou Godley (Head of Art at New Mills School)

Saturday, 11 February 2012

More records for Archie

Well if Decembers production record wasn't good enough, in January Archie has again produced the highest since being commissioned back in September 2008 - the works that took place following the storm last February have improved the throughput of water through the screw resulting in improved production.

Archies Open days

Following today's Torrs Hydro AGM there will be an 'open day' down at Archie.

Future dates for this years open days are :

Sunday March 25th
Sunday April 22nd
Saturday May 26th
Sunday June 17th
Saturday September 29th (as part of New Mills Festival)
All open days are between 1pm and 3pm where you can ask the experts anything you want to about Archie or renewable energy and also take a look behind the scenes.

It would be great to see you there and why not make a day of it and see the Millennium walkway, the Hydro, New Mills Original gallery and the Community Orchard and carvings in High Lea Park New Mills then go and have some great coffee in one of the cafes in New Mills.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Archie breaks all records !

In December Archie had the highest months production ever, over 35,000 kWh - some great efforts by our volunteers to keep producing renewable energy.

Some time in the next month we will pass another production milestone of 500,000 kWh - the equivalent of boiling a kettle continuously for 57 years !

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer please email