DRIVERS stared as a 130-year-old harvesting machine lumbered across the Magic Roundabout.

The chaff-cutter, used by Victorian farmers to cut animal bedding, took the four-mile journey to its new home at the Richard Jefferies Museum.

The machine was one of dozens of pieces of farming artefacts rescued from a barn fire that devastated the former Coate Agricultural Museum in late December 2016.

Mike Pringle, director of the Richard Jefferies Museum, said: “It was partly about rescuing something from the agricultural museum. We haven’t got much space here and we’ve got some more bits and pieces coming on Wednesday.

“It’s about making our farm look like a farm again. This was sold by TH White, a Wiltshire company that still exists. They’ve offered to supply us with all the stuff we need to restore it.

“This place was a farm. Obviously, it was writer Richard Jefferies’ birthplace, but a huge amount of what he writes about is the agriculture of that time. To have some artefacts that are not just his books but the subject he was writing about, it’s another side to this farm that as of yet hasn’t been shown off.”

Mike joked that he had stayed behind the heavy chaff-cutter on its sedate 4mph journey from a council store on the Hawkswood Industrial Estate, near the Oasis Leisure Centre.

He added: “There were a couple of tractors in store and they are completely duffed. "Their engines have all seized up and their tyres have melted. This thing, it’s built out of iron and wood and it still works. It’s just been sitting there for decades. You hitch it to a tractor and Bob’s your uncle, off it goes.”

The chaff-cutter was moved by steam enthusiast Colin Hatch, using a 1964 Nuffield 10 60 tractor.

Colin said: “It was quite interesting going across the Magic Roundabout. That's why we picked the Bank Holiday Monday to move it.”

Enthusiasts hope to restore the machine to its former glory so its blades will turn when it is connected to Colin’s steam traction engine. It will be on display for the museum’s steam weekend on July 21 and 22.