In the 1800’s, Woodcote and Greenmoor were small hamlets, both with ponds, on the edge of Woodcote Common. Living at the top of the hill, people had meagre water supplies, relying on rain water collected in cisterns or tanks from their house roof. Ponds were used when these tanks were empty.
The larger pond, the Canal, provided water for domestic and drinking purposes, and the smaller one was for animal use and for soaking wooden cart wheels in the summer. Local people knew these ponds, which were filled by underground streams, would contain a constantly reliable source of water.
In 1898, the Inspector of Nuisances (who was responsible for public health) recommended that the Canal should be provided with a brick pond-water filter to improve water quality. Known locally as the Dipping Well, this contains layers of gravel or charcoal filters and is probably not very deep. The pond water flowed through the filters and clean water would rise up inside the well.
There were many brick kilns in this area, which is still dotted with former clay pits. The bricks for the well were possibly supplied by the Lewis family from their nearby brickworks. The well was probably capped after the Second World War, but Woodcote parish records for that period are missing.
The site is managed by the Woodcote Conservation Group on behalf of the parish council.
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