River Lym (or Lim)
The valley of the Lym is just over 5 kilometres long and it falls 200 metres from source to the sea in Lyme Bay. Heavy rain in the valley (Uplyme and Yawl) and Raymonds Hill where the source springs are located is enough to provide a torrent of water in the lower reaches past Jericho, Jordan, the Angel at Mill Green and the Town Mill. The river has flooded on several occasions, the most dramatic being in the spring of 1890 when residents of Coombe Street had to be rescued by boat. There were as many as thirteen mills using the energy provided by this short river in the days before James Watt watched his kettle boil. It was also used just above the Woodmead Road bridge by the Baptists for total immersion of new members of their church.
You can walk along the side of some of the lower reaches of the river through the back of town, and then follow the course through fields and woods until you get to Uplyme. Start from the Town Square towards the traffic lights, and turn left there into Coombe Street. In about 100 metres turn left by the side of the Ship Inn, and walk down to the old Town Mill which was a working mill until 1926 and has recently been restored by a Trust to provide studios for working artists and a café. Walk up the side of the mill past the wheel and the leat, and you will reach the footpath running along above the river on your left and with the watercourse that fed the mill wheel on your right. This stretch of the river is called the Lynch and on the opposite bank you will see a small garden on the site of the Lepers' Well with a small foot bridge giving access.
At the end of the Lynch is the Gosling bridge. Cross over and walk up Mill Green to the right of the Angel and shortly you will reach the stream again at Jordan and then Jericho and then the Woodmead Road. Cross over and follow the path past the weir, the Baptists’ dipping place, the Higher Mill (now flats) and carry on till you meet Colway Lane which crosses the stream via the Horn Bridge. Until the early 19th Century this was the only way in and out of Lyme: turn right to go to Charmouth and left across the bridge to the Roman Road and on to Uplyme and Axminster. Follow the new road opposite and stay on the right hand side of the stream. The path will take you over footbridges, through meadows, and past an old thatched mill (now cottages) until it rises a little and you are walking with houses between you and the stream. At the end of this stretch you come to a road, Tappers Knapp (you are now in Devon), and you can either turn left up the Knapp and find the Lyme–Axminster road or you can cross over and follow the path through the woods by the stream until you reach Church Street in Uplyme. Turning left along the street brings you to the main road by the Talbot Inn, or you can walk a little further by the stream and emerge on the main road opposite the cricket ground. The cricket ground and tennis courts are just about the only level piece of land in the district, and the stream flows round it, but walking here and further up the stream is not practical.
If you do not feel like walking back to Lyme there are buses every hour (two hours on Sundays) from the Talbot.
Abridged from “Lyme Regis Walkabout and Local Historical Guide” by kind permission of Marguerite Chapman, Serendip Books, Lyme Regis.