Two-dimensional flow over a circular cylinder placed in-line behind a control rod of the same diameter is studied with and without the influence of a plane wall. Thermal patterns observed during various vortex shedding modes are discussed in detail. POD analysis of temperature data reveals that, with the decrease in wall height, modal structures are moved closer to the cylinder surface, which increases the heat transfer fluctuation. The plane wall increases the heat transfer from the bottom surface of the cylinder and decreases the heat transfer from the top surface, while the rotation of control rod contributes in an opposite manner. As the cylinder is moved closer to the wall, the time-averaged Nusselt number increases for a stationary control rod. In the case of a rotating control rod, the rotation of the control rod acts in the opposite sense to nullify this wall effect. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.