The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Flood Analysis

The Abingdon Herald appeared today with five pages of flood pictures.

There has also been the national coverage:

On Tuesay the Daily Telegraph said 'The Thames in Abingdon, Oxon, rose 3ft in less than 12 hours to a "perilously high" level'

In the Independent yesterday 'There was an apocalyptic feeling in the town of Abingdon ...'

There are still sandbags in the centre of town, some way above the current level of the river. But town people know there is the third town centre river to consider: the River Stert. It runs through an old culvert, and might run awry if pushed back by a high River Thames. Earlier, it too broke its banks upstream.

The River Thames is still high today. Water was washing back up the River Ock towards St. Helens Mill - one of the first places to be evacuated at the weekend.

Last weekend the Ock was full of foam and fury. But not now it flows calmly, draining its flood plain.

The River Thames is also expected to go down in the next couple of days.

This Environment Agency Map will need to be redrawn. It is the map people are shown when doing local area searches before moving house. The River Ock reached further than places shown as 'extreme flood' on this map, in areas such as: Ock Street, Spring Road, Marcham Road, Mill Road, Wordsworth Road, Coleridge Road, and all round the Ladygrove Estate. Fortuneately, the Thames and Stert did not get to their pale blue extremes.

The trouble is the pattern could be different next time. So the instant reaction is to improve the River Ock defences. Perhaps the re-built Wilts and Berks canal could act as a drainage channel from the Ock to other farmland and the Thames. Who knows? But what if next time a flash flood causes more problems from the River Stert?

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Soggy Carpets

Many of the houses on the Ladygrove Estate have a pile of soggy carpets in the garden.

Not just soggy carpets, but electrical appliances, sofas, cupboards...

As Anonymous commented yesterday '...the sun was out today and the water had receeded a great deal - the ock was now obeying the rules and sticking to it's own course, leaving behind just a few pools of water to soak into the ground. however, on my walk through I could see many people piling up former possessions in black bags, and the high water marks were all too visible on the houses. the very thought of being flooded out is surreal but for the last 3 nights I had fully expected it. at least I know that my home was safe from some of the worst flooding ever...'

The army continue to fill sand-bags, and the Vale District Council brought round some more sand-bags today to these people in Francis Little Drive, on Ladygrove. The driver first said it was a precaution.

One woman said "You're not lieing to us are you. I've heard the radio warnings."

He said, "I can't say for sure, but you can probably store them away in your garage for next time they're needed."

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Left Over Sandbags

There has been a more relaxed feel. The emergency services are no longer on high alert. The River Thames is still just as high, but it seems predictable now - not the great unknown.

The path to the weir has been washed away and cordoned off since yesterday. Here, perhaps, is a use for those left over sandbags.

The flood has NOT helped Abingdon Town Football Club's pitch or floodlight controls, but it has made it a better place to take pictures.

Abingdon Vale cricket club were having a good season until this happened. Still, I'm sure they'll bounce back.

But will everybody who has been flooded bounce back so easily? One lady had only just moved back to her former town Abingdon, after loosing her husband. As she sat, as an evacuee, in the Guildhall - she said ' I may have made a big mistake.'

High Water Mark

St Helens Church looks safe at 7 AM this morning, looking down towards the slipway.

The water level has gone up, perhaps 10 or 12 inches since yesterday morning.

Looking back to St Helens Wharf, from Margaret Brown Garden, water laps over the wall at this point. But it looks like Abingdon has escaped the worst case scenario (40 roads flooded). Visible in this picture, the Old Anchor Inn (flooded on Sunday by the River Ock) has escaped a second flooding - just.

So what next? The River Thames is likely to stay at or near this high level for the next day or so. Flood defences are remaining in place as a precaution because the Environment Agency say there remains the possibility of another 'surge.'

Monday, 23 July 2007

Save our Flood Plain

"Here we are reporting in Abingdon..."

The flood plain stretches behind the ITV reporter.
The crowds, on the bridge, watch some rescue boats helping a boat in difficulty. Most of the boats however are secured with the help of poles installed by a local scaffolding firm. (Dunkirk spirit)

There is no large flood in town yet. The large flood plain on the other side of the River Thames does help. For every inch the water rises on the town side it has to spread half a mile on the other.

Famous buildings have escaped so far. The museum basement got flooded during the deluge on Friday - but that is not very visible from outside.

But some of the, soon to be built, buildings were not quite so lucky. This is the new development next to the River Ock on the Drayton Road.

Flood Watch

For more information on flooding , see

Oxfordshire County Council
Vale District Council
Environment Agency
Abingdon Herald

This is the weir at Abingdon. The Lock Gates are shown here fully raised at 6:30 PM. Today so far:

11:37 (Radio Oxford) - The Iffley Lock keeper reports a 2 inch rise in 30 minutes at Iffley Lock (2 locks up from Abingdon). All the weirs are open but that is not working. It is still on the way up.

11:54 (Radio Oxford)- Abingdon Road in Oxford is starting to flood and will be closed in the next hour. Botley Road is closed. City Centre restriction lifted to allow traffic through.

12:15 - From Vale site - Severe Flood Warnings remain in place for the rivers Ock and Thames in the Vale area, and the latest prediction from the Environment Agency is that flooding will start in the town at around 7pm.

Streets that are likely to be affected include:

Audlett Drive, Bailie Close, Burton Close, Caldecott Road, Chaunterell Way, Coleridge Drive, Culham Road, Drayton Road, East St. Helens Street, Francis Little Drive, Godrey Close, Hermitage Road, Jenyns Court, Manor Court, Marcham Road, Meadowside, Medlicott Drive, Mill Paddock, Mill Road, Mill Stream Court, Musson Close, Nash Drive, Ock Mill Close, Ock Steet, Orpwood Way, Riply Close, Shepherd Gardens, South Quay, St. Amand Drive, St. Helens Wharf, Suffolk Way, Sympsons Close, Tennyson Drive, The Bridge, Thurston Close, Tower Close, Turberville Close, Wilsham Road, Wordsworth Road, and Wyndyke Furlong,

Five teams from the Council are currently delivering 500 sandbags to roads in Abingdon which are most likely to flood and which are not yet protected.

14:15 BBC Reports it will peak at about 2:45 AM tomorrow

18:15 Speak to Abingdon Lock Keeper. He says the river is still rising. He says the whiz kids at the Environment Agency say it will peak at about 11:45 PM now. But he says that the river will have to find its own level. He is doing all he can to help that happen.

This lad is finding his own level by bike at the Abbey Meadow. He got much further than his mates, but didn't get much further.

This is one of the closest houses to the Thames. The river is rising but at 19:45 it has risen an inch or two in the last hour. It is the highest I've seen it but it is not flooding yet - at least not on this side. We haven't yet seen what has been described as the surge.

First Light - waiting

Another new day, and things are looking better than yesterday morning. The predicted surge down the River Thames is not evident. The water level is at the same point as most of yesterday - a few inches beneath the wharf. The longer it is delayed the better it is for the knock-on impact on the River Ock.

Some areas of housing, and the Tesco carpark are still flooded, as are all the fields surrounding Tesco, but the water has receded from Ock Street and Drayton Road.

But, still keep an eye out, the BBC say this morning 'The council, predicting 41 roads are likely to flood in Abingdon, has made sandbags available at the area's local police station and Caldecott School.' The Abingdon Herald has the list of 41 and says it may occur up to '9am on Tuesday.'

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Severe Flood Warning

Both the River Ock and the River Thames are now moved up to Severe Flood Warning. The Almshouses are prepared.

At last light there were still a lot of people watching the water at St Helens Wharf as they have been doing all day. The emergency services have been busy all day. We even had firemen from Manchester and Essex. A lot of our own firemen have had their own homes in Meadowside flooded, but continued to battle on for the rest of us.

Evacuees have been moved from The Guildhall, whose bottom floor could flood, to the Kassam Stadium. The evacuee meeting point has moved to Our Lady's Convent at the bottom of Radley Road and, if needed, Thameside School on Cotman Close.

A policeman came to warn our road that we were at risk, and should make some preparations should we be flooded.


Some people have been up all night, either flooded out or watching the water rise. This morning a lot of roads are closed or flooded.

Caldecott is virtually an island: The Drayton Road is flooded.
Ock Street is flooded as are residences either side

Spring Road is flooded at the bottom.

Much of Ladygrove Estate is flooded, and water is still rolling into Wordsworth Road on the Tithe Farm estate. People are just watching it inch up nearer their houses, hoping it will stop. The peak is reported to be 3 PM this afternoon.

The Hermitage Road estate is flooded, as are Turbeville Close. The elderly people from places like Cygnet Court and Ladygrove Paddock were evacuated last night and taken initially to the Guildhall. Some have been collected by relatives. Some have been found housing by the Vale. Others will be there for another night, and may be joined by others if the flooding continues to get worse.

The Thames is not such a problem yet. It could be within another 24 hours.