This week I had to go to the little village of Muchelney on the Somerset Levels in connection with a project I am working on. Muchelney has attracted national interest because for the past couple of weeks or so it has been cut off by the flood water that has turned large parts of this low-lying part of England into an enormous lake.
My project is not connected with the flood, but I would like to share some of the pictures I took on the way to and from the village.
On the approach from the north, the main road between Langport and Muchelney is still flooded. The brother of the person who ferried me in to the village had driven it in a Landrover and found the water four feet deep in places. The water came up over his bonnet and, though it didn’t get into his engine and kill it, it did start coming in through his air vents.
So my approach was from the south via the village of Kingsbury Episcopi. Here is the road (yes, it’s a road not a river) seen through the windscreen as we start on the approach to Muchelney.
The water level on the road is at the same height as the flooded fields on either side.
Of course some of the houses in the village have flooded and over 100 people have had to be evacuated (the population is only just over 200). This medieval house stands on the edge of the village and the floods can be seen in the background on the left of the house.
Muchelney was mentioned in the Domesday Book and is famous for its ruined abbey founded in the 10th century and its 14th century Priest’s House. It often floods in winter – Muchelney means ‘big island’ in Anglo-Saxon – but this is said to be the worst flood in 100 years.
Looking across the garden of a house on the edge of the village at the flood water:
In the village itself the roads are dry and free of flooding. Vehicles coming in are he subject of intense interest, as the inhabitants try to gauge from speaking to the drivers whether the flood waters are going down.
At the height of the flood a local farmer laid on a tractor and trailer service to enable people to get into and out of the village. But others have resorted to a different form of transport to cope with the flooding:
At one point I started to walk back from the village into the flood water, just to see what it was like and took a few shots along the way.
But it’s not long before the water starts to get deeper.
I turned back when the water had got about 8-10″ up my Wellingtons and when I realised, from the freezing cold water seeping into them, that they were no longer waterproof.
Later I got a lift back to Kingsbury Episcopi to pick up my car and took a few final shots on the way:
Dry land comes into sight as we start to emerge from the flood water.