Now water power is again being used as part of some local green energy schemes.
You can see one of these in action in Bainbridge, the small hamlet in Wensleydale near where the river Bain meets the river Ure. Look for the river Bain and you may well miss it - it's less than five miles long and one of England's shortest rivers, flowing from Semerwater to Bainbridge. It may be short but it's actually mighty enough to power a huge Archimedes Screw, about 8 metres long as part of a hydro energy scheme.
The locally-run community power scheme launched in 2011, and generates enough energy to power around 20 homes. It's quite mesmerising to watch the Archimedes screw in action, pumping water and converting it into electricity. The technology is ancient, simple but effective: it's said to be based on a system once used to take water through the Hanging Gardens of Babylon!
Across the road is a lovely village green, complete with stocks and Corn Mill Tearooms where you can enjoy some excellent cake. If you fancy really pushing the boat out, you can go for a gourmet meal at nearby Yorebridge House, or stay overnight at the beautiful Low Mil Guest House, a historic former mill, where most of the original millworks remain in working order, including the waterwheel.