Mells River

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Mells River
Bridge over Mells River, Great Elm - - 836663.jpg
Bridge over the Mells River at Great Elm
Country England
County Somerset
 - right Finger Stream, Whatley Brook, Nunney Brook
Cities Gurney Slade, Mells, Great Elm, Frome
 - elevation 2 m (7 ft)
 - length 31 m (102 ft)
Mouth River Frome
 - location Frome, Somerset, England
 - coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.

The Mells River flows through the eastern Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. It rises at Gurney Slade and flows east joining the River Frome at Frome.

The river forms one of the boundaries of Mells Park, a country house estate in Mells.[1]

Mells River also powered the Old Ironstone Works[2] and several other mills set up by James Fussell III in 1744.[3] It is now a 0.25 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest, as it is used by both Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats.[4][5]

Vobster Inn Bridge, which carries the lane over the Mells River, is dated 1764, and is Grade II listed.[6] At Great Elm the Murtry Aqueduct,[7] built around 1795, carried the Dorset and Somerset Canal over the river.

The river takes the outfall from Whatley Quarry.[8] Downstream of the outfall is the Mells River Sink. This acts as a spring when the water table is high and as a sink into underground aquifers, through the Limestone, when the water table is low.[9] Water tracing showed this to be part of an underground part of the river 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) long. Archaeological investigations found the remains of woolly rhinoceros bones and a 1st-century bronze broach.[10]


  1. "Park, Mells". Somerset Historic Environment Record. Somerset County Council. Retrieved 2009-09-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "The Case for Extending the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". Mendip Hills Society. 2005. Retrieved 2010-10-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Atthill, Robin (1964). Old Mendip. Newton Abbott: David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5171-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "English Nature citation sheet" (PDF). 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Thornes, Robin (2010). Men of iron. The Fussells of Mells. Frome Society for Local Study. ISBN 978-0-9565869-1-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Vobster Inn Bridge". Images of England. Retrieved 2006-11-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Murtry Aqueduct". Images of England. English Heritage. Retrieved 2009-09-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Quarry control helps maintain river levels". ABB. Retrieved 2009-09-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Mells and the Wadbury Valley". British Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-09-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Stanton, W.I. (1982). "Mells River Sink: A spelaeological curiosity in east mendip Somerset" (PDF). Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelæological Society. 16 (2): 93–104.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>