Visits review

Brief reviews of club visits. Where we've been what we've seen. Contributions welcome.
Heygates Flour & Feed Bill 27/09/2017.

Over 20 BVTC members & guests went along for this visit. We were shown round both the flour mill and the feed mill. Heygates are not only millers but also bakers and farmers. The company remains a family run business with several family members very active and hands on daily in the business. The tonnages, acres and general statistics were impressive to say the least. Links have been added to our links page to the three main websites of the company. Be sure to visit all three websites, there is plenty to see.

The level of automation used ensures the mill is running 24 Hours a day 7 days a week. It really is milling an a big scale. Not sure how many traditional windmills of old it would take to match the output! There has been a mill on the site for at least 900 years. The feed mill produces feeds for cattle, sheep, horses, ponies, pigs, hens, turkeys, partridge, goats, llamas and alpaca. Packages from small bags to bulk lorry loads mean a size to suit all customer needs.

Our thanks go to our guides for a very informative and interesting visit. Thanks also to Johnathan Clark for arranging the visit on our behalf.

H G Matthews Brickworks and Tractor Collection 24/04/2016.

Our visit started off at the Brickworks, where H G Matthews have been making bricks since 1923. The clay for the bricks is generally dug locally, although to meet the exacting requirements of one customer clay was brought in from further afield. Our guide explained the process from digging clay through to firing the bricks in the kilns. When the bricks have been moulded they contain approximately 1 pint of water each. This water has to be removed before the bricks can go into the kilns. The bricks are dried in drying chambers which are heated using woodchip fuelled boilers. The boilers have an output of 200kW each. The woodchip is created on site. A mobile wood chipper is brought in to process round wood into chips. The chipper is powered by a Caterpillar 750HP engine! The chipper can handle large diameter trunks with ease the, 750HP on tap making short work of them. The bricks are stacked into the kilns by hand which takes a week. They are then fired in the kilns which also takes a week. After firing the kilns are emptied by hand, which, like the stacking in, also takes a week. The three main kilns are oil fired. Matthews also use one wood fired kiln which, when in action, has to have a person in attendance 24 hours a day, feeding the wood in to maintain a constant temperature. There are numerous parts of the process which are monitored by eye, not automated instrumentation! Matthews can make bricks in a vast array of shapes and colours. Bricks are made by both machine and by hand.

Moving on to the tractor collection. We were able to view well over 60 tractors, both wheeled and crawlers, a large majority of which had been restored to a very good standard. The collection included tractors & crawlers made by Ferguson, Volvo, Fordson, County, Muntkells BM, Massey Harris, Allis Chalmers, Oliver, Fowler, Massey Ferguson, John Deere, Case, International Harvester, Field Marshall, Minneapolis Moline, Steyr and Lloyd. Three of the crawlers were lifeboat tractors from the RNLI, two made by Fowler the other by Case.

All in all a very good, informative and interesting visit. Our thanks go to the Matthews Family and their staff for their time and allowing us the privilege of visiting. Link to H G Matthews web site

Ardley Energy Recovery Facility, 23/01/2016.

The Ardley ERF is contracted to Oxfordshire county council to take all of what would otherwise be landfill waste for the next 25 years, although at the current level this does not fulfill 100% of the incinerator’s capacity, the remainder coming form other local authorities and private contracts. Two furnaces run 24/7 for most of the year, only shutting down for annual maintenance. The furnaces heat water to create steam to drive a single turbine and generator. The waste reception hopper, furnaces and associated power generation plant only occupy a minor area of the site, with a large proportion of the building devoted to filtering the exhaust gasses form the furnaces before being released to the atmosphere. An additional outdoor area is devoted to the handling of the furnace ash which is reused in road bases and building blocks. Incinerating waste in the twenty first century is clearly no longer a simple case of burning it! Here is the link to the Ardley ERF website