Pictures: Combe Martin villagers pitch in as flooding strikes across North Devon
PUBLISHED: 17:38 21 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 21 January 2018
Combe Martin was among many places hit by flash flooding on Sunday morning – but villagers turned out in their droves to help
Combe Martin pulled together this morning (Sunday) as a deluge of flood water swept through the village.
People of all ages grabbed shovels and sandbags to come and help following an appeal on the What’s On Combe Martin Facebook page.
Torrents of water together with mud and debris washed down side streets such as Comers Lane and Corner Lane, blocking the main road, with water threatening to run into properties.
There was flooding at Bowling Green and Cormelles Car Park as the River Umber burst its banks.
It was a similar picture across North Devon as flash flooding hit roads at Muddiford, Marwood, Landkey, in Barnstaple, South Molton and Brayford among others. Homes were evacuated at Kentisbury, Swimbridge and Landkey.
Darren Bolton of the Top Chippy in Combe Martin was one of those who put out the appeal on Facebook and dozens of people turned out to help, including those with mini diggers.
He posted later: “What an awesome village we live in! When action is needed we all pull together. I’m so proud to live here.
“Big shout to Michael Norman and Gareth Tossell you guys are brilliant.”
The A399 at the top of the village just past Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park was closed by torrents of water and a landslip, although it is now open and passable with great care.
And parish council chairman Peter James posted: “Can I just say as Parish Council Chairman how brilliant the response to the flash flooding was by dozens and dozens of villagers, out with shovels.
“Thank you all so much, thanks to all who gave the services of diggers and dumpers, and to the emergency services, Combe Martin is a real, living community.”
Devon and Cornwall Police said its officers, the fire service and other agencies had been working hard throughout the day to deal with flooding incidents.
A spokesman urged people not to travel unless it was essential and said more rainfall was predicted for this evening.
They added: “While new calls from the public have reduced and water has begun to recede in some areas, agencies are currently monitoring the situation as we go into the evening with flood warnings on many locations remaining in place. Further rainfall is predicted and water runoff from high ground may affect roads and properties. All emergency services and partner agencies remain on alert.
“The public is urged to only travel for essential journeys and only then with extreme caution. If anyone has to travel they should take care while driving in the area due to large amounts of surface water and debris, and they are urged to slow down.
“We would also like to remind people not to drive through floodwater and avoid exposed coasts during storm conditions. Also please be aware that road closure signs are put up for safety reasons and people should not move them or tamper with them as it could put others at risk.
“Any person perceiving that their property is at risk is urged to take steps in line with the advice published by the Environment Agency. If anyone is in immediate danger then please phone police on 999.
“The Environment Agency also urge members of the public to exercise extreme caution in trying to resolve potential issues themselves and no-one should interfere with Environment Agency equipment or other property.”