a living river

Before we signed on the dotted line and bought this house we spent some time researching the pattern and frequency of flooding in the area. The proximity of the River Teme made that an imperative, although I increasingly admire our ancestors who located their dwellings and farm buildings above flood levels without the benefit of the fantastic database of the Environment Agency. I guess over the centuries only those settlements that remained dry in most winter river floods have persisted.

We are on a bluff above the flood plain of the the river, but even when the water is low the oxbow lakes and old river channels can clearly be seen. Rivers are such dynamic organisms and thinking of them as always being in the same place is such an obviously false assumption in a place such as this.  Two weeks ago a large flock of sheep grazed here, today just the Canada geese, surprised perhaps by the increase in their paddling area.

I took this picture from the bottom of the garden this morning and the river has risen further, flooding more of its flood plain, behaving exactly as an undeveloped river valley should.

I feel great sympathy for anyone who has been flooded, and know from first hand experience what a mess flooding brings and how long the disruption lasts. I am grateful now to be the neighbour of a river with room to move and have been thrilled to watch the transformation of the landscape from a window that  has become a front row seat onto the best geography lecture room; a place to witness the shaping of the landscape by water. And I hope you are all cosy and dry.

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5 thoughts on “a living river

  1. All dry here too, although I suspect that the river is into the flood plains like yours is, but it’s been raining too much for me to venture down there! Glad you’re all dry and safe 😉

  2. Having seen you mention the River Teme in previous posts, I was wondering how things are up there and I’m glad to know you’re able to watch the drama from a safe distance. The Malmesbury area has had it really bad down here and the Hardenhuish Brook at the side of the house is a raging torrent. We drove up from Dorset on Thursday night – that was pretty scary.

    1. We are luckily high and dry here but I have been watching the news from Wiltshire with concern. We had family over from Stratford at the weekend and that was worrying for them too. Glad you are dry and had a good few days away.

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