A Walk Around High Bentham

12 June 2003

Leader - David Johnson (of Bentham)

Members met at 7.00 pm. and set out on a two-hour walk. We made our way down Mount Pleasant past the Collingwood Alms Houses and spent some time on and around School Hill looking at the Bygone Bentham Plaques that had been in place for just a year. These plaques display pictures and text pertinent to the immediate vicinity and give an idea of what the area was like early in the 20th Century. If you are interested, a list of all seventeen plaques and maps, showing their location in both High and Low Bentham, is available from the Tourist Information Office in Station Road.

We next examined the area around 'the cross' in the centre of Bentham before making our way down Station Road. We stopped for a while to appreciate the faded glory of Georgian Grove Hill before looking at the current site occupied by the George Angus Factory (now Kidde's). We paused by the modern bridge crossing the River Wenning looking at the Bygone Bentham plaques which tell the story of Bentham Bathing Club, once located here until the bridge and the weir were destroyed by a flood in December 1964. They also give an account of the once popular Bentham Holiday camp, a tented village which appeared on the banks of the Wenning in the early part of the 20th Century. Wenning Avenue was once the site of the High Mill. It finished its life as Wenning Silks, producing artificial silk for the fashion market. The mill was demolished in the 1980's and has been replaced with a housing estate. The only clues to its existence are the road names. At the far end of Wenning Avenue we saw a recently discovered well, one of several known to exist in High Bentham.

We then made our way along Duke Street passing the site of the original electrical generating station before returning to the car park by walking along Main Street looking at many date stones and plaques, some originating in the 17th Century. We were blessed with fine weather and I think many members were intrigued to discover that High Bentham has so many interesting and intriguing aspects to its history.