Sunday, 9 February 2014

High waters on the Somerset Levels

INCREDIBLE sights on the Somerset Levels yesterday, with (as we all know) massive, deep flooding.

View looking north to Bridgewater

I wanted to take a look myself to explore the extent of it all, and so went all the way to Burrow Mump and Burrow Bridge where the news media are; the Police were being interviewed when I was there by TV.

There is an obvious beauty to the scene, but tragedy for the home owners.  The Somerset Levels was a land used in Summer as it used to flood in winter, but of course man's management of the water was supposed to stop that, as far as is feasibly possible anyway.  There is SOOOO much water it is uncertain to me how much investment would be required, but I suppose if the Dutch can live below sea level we can.  It makes for some exciting wildlife watching and some tricky navigation in the car!

The weather was amazing - I am not sure that I remember being in stronger winds, which whipped up the water like a little sea.  There were occasional gusty showers but mainly bright sunshine.

I popped into Greylake RSPB Reserve - this is totally inundated so I was only about to take pictures from the entrance.  I had some sunflower seeds which I put out on the bird tables and was able to get some great closeups of common birds such as the reed buntings, chaffinch, great tit, starling and dunnock.  The female bunting has wonderful, warm brown colouration.

Female reed bunting

From a platform looking over the reeds I spotted this wonderful male marsh harrier:

There were huge flocks of lapwings wheeling around with golden plovers mixed in amongst them.  They moved between dry spots restlessly.

I went onto Ham Wall and was amazed to see virtually no-one else was there.  I met a local wildlife enthusiast in one of the viewing areas and exchanged interesting stories about what wildlife the area had to offer.

Heron returning to next site in front of Glasto Tor

From the top of slippery, steep side Barrow Mump the view was biblical.  I just managed to capture this image of a local man from Street doing his best to windsurf in the really tricky conditions:

An exciting day.


  1. Interesting, though tragic for those living there. In all the coverage on the media I haven't seen anyone wind-surfing - or much about the wildlife for that matter. So thanks for adding another dimension to the flooding.

  2. Hi John -Yes the Daily Telegraph picked up on it and used this image today on Page 15 as the focus for a whole article about land use.


Have your say...