Pictures: Flooding swamps Horsey Island at Braunton as defences destroyed

The flooding seen from the air above Horsey Island near Braunton. The broken bank is on the top right. Picture: Adam Hobbs
The flooding seen from the air above Horsey Island near Braunton. The broken bank is on the top right. Picture: Adam Hobbs

Braunton’s outer estuary defences have finally given way and there are fears for what happens next

One of the Airboat UK boats searching the flooded Horsey Island for stricken livestock. Picture: Piers Cooke/Airboats UK One of the Airboat UK boats searching the flooded Horsey Island for stricken livestock. Picture: Piers Cooke/Airboats UK

There are fears for the future of Braunton Marsh and the village flood defences after high tides washed away a large section of the flood bank at Horsey Island.

On Tuesday morning fire fighters were called in to check on stranded sheep and cattle on the marsh and herd them to higher ground if needed.

They were called in by Braunton Parish Council after being alerted to the danger and the RSPCA and North Devon Animal Ambulance were also in attendance.

Boats from Airboat UK combed the flooded areas to help check for stranded livestock.

Tide water rushing through the gap at Horsey Island. Picture: Adam Hobbs Tide water rushing through the gap at Horsey Island. Picture: Adam Hobbs

Parish council chairman Derrick Spear said: “Each high tide will make the situation worse and really the powers-that-be have got to step in.

“While we are very disappointed this has happened we were very pleased the parish could play a significant role in getting action in making sure the sheep and cattle were taken to safety.”

It was almost a year ago that the Gazette reported on how the bank was on the verge of being washed away.

Councillor Brad Bunyard, who took some of the pictures seen here, said: “There used to be a causeway between the island and the road which has been pretty much washed away

A flooded Horsey Island near Braunton. Picture: Adam Hobbs A flooded Horsey Island near Braunton. Picture: Adam Hobbs

“The power of water is incredible.”

Marsh inspector John Hartnoll said on Sunday morning high tides and storm force winds saw the bank washed away.

He said: “Horsey bank where there used to be a sluice was completely washed away and all of Horsey Island got flooded to a considerable depth.

“It comes in and out every tide and it’s a very sad day to see all the work that went into building the banks of Horsey Island under salt water.”

The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard

Mr Hartnoll said the biggest worry now was protecting the inner bank which prevents water from getting into Braunton Marsh.

He said they were now trying to do all they could to ensure that did not happen.

It is understood the bank which breached is owned by a private landowner.

Mr Hartnoll added: “I am afraid now it’s a very big repair, it’s so sad to see it deteriorate.”

The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard

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