Somerset Rivers Authority has funded work to clear a thickly overgrown brook in Carhampton, to cut flood risk in the village and along the A39.
Few other places in Somerset are currently being targeted with such a range of flood alleviation activities as Carhampton.
The SRA’s latest project tackled neglected sections of watercourse owned by the Crown Estate between Chris’s Crackers Junk Shop and Carhampton Recreation Centre, to improve the channel’s capacity for conveying water.
Cllr John Osman, Chairman of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), said: “The A39 through Carhampton floods regularly and several properties in the village are at risk of flooding, so the SRA and its partners are determined to make improvements. Together we’re looking at brooks, streams, farms, fields, roads, culverts, drains, and new housing. Bit by bit, we’re chipping away at the problem, to benefit local people, businesses, and visitors going to and from Dunster, Minehead and Exmoor.”
The channel clearance work was organised and managed for the SRA by the Environment Agency, supported by Somerset County Council, with Quantock & Exmoor Tree Care duo Rob Bruce (pictured top right), who has lived in Carhampton all his life, and Wes Hopwood (pictured top left), who lives in Washford, sub-contracting for Ground Control.
Cllr Brenda Maitland-Walker, who represents Carhampton and Withycombe on West Somerset Council and chairs West Somerset Flood Group, said: “This is great news for Carhampton, but it is also great news for everyone using the A39, because when the road is closed due to flooding, the only other route in or out of Minehead is via the A396 through Dunster, but this is often flooded at the same time.”
Other Carhampton measures have included SRA-funded grassland sub-soiling on farmland by the side of the A39 between Carhampton and Keeper’s Cottage, to improve the infiltration of water into the ground and thereby reduce run-off on to the road. This project was delivered by the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group SW, who have also been in discussions with farmers above Carhampton, for example at Bridiccott Farm and Aller Farm.
The SRA is also funding a review of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) installed at the new Townsend Farm development, by the A39 in Carhampton, to make sure that it is functioning as designed and approved.
Somerset County Council has been working on A39 drains and – in partnership with Carhampton Parish Council – has funded improvements to Winsors Lane culverts. Further plans for the watercourse through Winsors Lane are under investigation by the county council.
The SRA’s brook work in Carhampton is part of the same package of West Somerset Streams activity that has also been reducing flood risks along Bratton Stream in Parks Walk, Minehead. The Minehead work has paused to allow fish to migrate.