South West Cut Off

The Counties of Devon & Cornwall Cut Off By Floods in November

The South West of England has suffered from more severe floods in November 2012. The whole South West Peninsular was cut off from the national rail network due to flooding over the two routes into the counties. Firstly, there was flooding on the downgraded single track London Waterloo to Exeter line in the East Devon area. This flood had washed away the trackbed under the railway line. Next, there was flooding in a variety of locations such as outside of Exeter, on the Somerset Levels and just south of Bristol which closed that rail route. To make things worse, a landslip affected, the Waterloo route near Honiton.

These images taken from the Flickr website show the extent of the floods affecting the railway near Exeter, Devon: In full flood and the same location with the aftermath and engineers replacing damaged track. This image shows an almost submerged railway bridge.

After a week or more of heavy rains there was then a further landslip along the beautiful coastal route and mainline to Plymouth and Cornwall. This closed the only route to the South West. On the 17th of November in Cornwall there was a landslide that closed the main Cornish rail line as reported in this Telegraph article.

Roads were also affected including the service station at Cullompton, Devon. Several other minor roads had extensive damage caused by water. Around the coast there has been an increase in landslip activity manly due to the wet summer and continuing heavy rainfall.

Somerset Flooding

The Somerset Levels in Somerset, an area of low lying ground just above sea level, is prone to flooding. This time the floods have persisted closing the main road to Glastonbury and cutting off the small community in the village of Muchelney. The village is, fortunately, on a slight hill but surrounded by lowland and two rivers. See this OpenCycleMap view which shows the village on a slightly higher contour that the surrounding area. The community was unreachable for over a week and has been cut off for longer. Rescue boats had to ferry supplies in and help residents get out. The main road, the A361, to Glastonbury which is nearby was also flooded to all vehicles. The diversion required to get around the impassable road was more than 20 miles thus adding a huge period of time and cost to those getting around the blocked road.

Else where in the county the preserved West Somerset Railway was breached in a few places on the 21 November. First at the junction with the main railway network at Norton Fitzwarren, near Taunton and at Williton. Crowcombe station was also affected but not as badly. There was also a landslip, caused by quantity of wet weather affecting the ground stability, at Washford. Photos of these events can be viewed here: Flood at Norton Fitzwarren, Williton Floodwater in the station and the landslip at Washford.

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About mappedit

Geographical practitioner with an interest in climate change, open mapping, sustainability, the transition movement, transport and many other things.
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