Monday, February 10, 2014

Floods– good and bad

Sunday, 2nd February 2014:Time, is a bit like a boiling kettle, if you watch it closely the clocks ticks ever so slowly. But take your off of the ball clock and it runs away. We’ve barely blinked our way into the New Year and the first month has whizzed by and it is already February.

The weather in the UK has been bad, but not terribly seasonal. The rainfall has been the problem, compounded by gales. Apparently it is set to continue for some time as well.   I guess living near the flatlands then we expect the drainage to be managed. We get our water from the various rivers that flow through as much as the rainfall, which is less here than other parts of the UK.  Drainage is a part of  Fen life with the Internal Drainage Boards set up to manage water catchment areas in a given region.

Having said that the rainfall has put pressure on the Sewage System and sewers are overflowing.

That process seems to have broken down in Somerset where there has been atrocious flooding for some.  Anybody who has had a leak will think how bad it has been – that is nothing compared with the flooding in Somerset.

We do get flooding though with the Welney Washes regularly flooding the A110 for instance.  Less frequently we also get regular flooding around the River Great Ouse, the River Cam and some of the smaller rivers around the county. The River Ouse regularly floods the cycleway alongside the Cambridge Guided Busway for instance.

I am not sure whether the problems down in Somerset are really as simplistic as the Environment Agency favouring creating wildlife habitat over saving human habitation. Or as simplistic as better dredging.  Whatever the real issues are it does seem that the Environment Agency took its eye of the ball. At the very least the EA should have been making the people living in the affected areas aware and ensuring the the choices being made were democratic.

Here in the flatlands we are seeing one intended bit of “flooding” working. As part of the Wicken Fen Vision a bund was created around Burwell Fen. Well it seems to be working well – water is gathering but remaining contained within the bund.

Burwell Fen Farm – with water meadows

Earlier on I had stopped for a chat with MikeC and had asked about SBC, it turns out that as reached Reach Lode Bridge, Mike and SBC bumped into each other on Burwell Lode Footbridge. On this visit to the fens I had brought along a long lens (100mm – 300mm which taking into account the size of my camera’s sensor is like 200mm to 600mm on a 35mm camera.

So when I stood taking pictures on the bridge I would have been able to see them both on the footbridge. This picture shows the Wicken Fen wind pump which is almost in the same direction and almost twice the distance.

Priory Farm and Wicken Fen Wind Pump

A Cool Cyclist coming up Reach Lode Bridge (well cooler than me)

One thing I have noticed is that the area is becoming more popular with walkers and their dogs (as well as bird watchers). There are often quite a few cars parked over by the Burwell Lode Footbridge and also by Reach Lode Bridge.

Which goes to show that people do appreciate being able to access the countryside.

Reach Lode

Reach Lode and Lode

White Fen

Cyclist on White Fen

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

As it happens I also see cars parked up near the bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge and White Fen.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

The weather today was lovely. (and I caught up with the Archers)


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