The Royal Gunpowder Mills is designated a Scheduled Monument, the highest protection that can be given to a historic site. It's landscape is shaped by 300 years of making explosives and propellants, sealed off from the outside world and featuring a large number of listed buildings, waterways, dry canals and an alder tree plantation which supplied the wood to make the charcoal, one of the three ingredients of gunpowder. The alder plantation is now part of a nature reserve, which is a site of special scientific interest and attracts a diverse range of animals and plants, which all form part of our national heritage.
Its architecture is unique and great care was taken in the design of its buildings showing pride in its importance as a world leader in innovation and quality. It is an anchor point of the European Route of Industrial Heritage. A large part of the site is now derelict and has become a home to important wildlife.
We have proposals for regenerating the site sensitively and conserving its builidings and wildlife for future generations.
On our Event Days you can opt to join our popular guided land train tour. We also run talks and tours. There are exhibitions. By browsing this website you can learn ahead more about the buildings, nature, railways and canals and other special features you will see on a visit, and begin to unlock the remarkable history of the site.
For more information on our heritage stay tuned as we will continue to update our pages with new information.
The Millhead Stream was used as a canal for the smooth and safe delivery of raw materials and collection of gunpowder. By 1800 the system had been further extended by the building of new mills on the banks of the old River Lea and the connection of these to the Millhead by canals.