Pictures: Rescuers battle to reach Lynton and Lynmouth as it is cut off by snow
PUBLISHED: 00:06 04 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:22 05 March 2018
Highways staff and contractors are working through the night to reopen the roads to Lynton and Lynmouth after they were blocked by huge snow drifts.
Heavy snow and high winds on Thursday saw the A39 into the twin villages swamped with 15-foot-high drifts that have left the villages completely cut off.
It is understood that as of this evening (Saturday) snow ploughs and snow blowers have been able to cut a single track road through to Barbrook.
But Lynton and Lynmouth Town Council has said it is not suitable for normal traffic and must be kept clear for emergencies and to help get supplies into the villages.
The mayor, Suzette Hibbert, posted on Facebook earlier this evening: “Our thanks to all who are pulling together to help us, to all the emergency services, the drivers of all the blowers, diggers and ploughs in such awful conditions.
“I have just been told that although the blowers have reached Barbrook it will not be safe to use until it is completely cleared.”
It is thought the villages have all but run out of bread and milk and those on the outskirts have been making runs to supermarkets to bring back enough to try and help their fellow villagers.
It is not yet known when smaller communities such as Brendon and Heddon Valley will be reopened.
Linda and Gary Wright at Barton Farm in Kentisbury are hoping the milk tanker can get through to them tonight.
She told the Gazette on Friday night they had to throw away 3,500 litres of milk because both hills either side of the farm were blocked by snow and the tanker could not get through. Gary has been working hard to clear the road and they hope it can reach them tonight.
Although in many cases there is very little lying snow on the fields, strong winds blew huge drifts on to the roads, completely blocking and requiring plough and heavy machinery to reopen.
A&B Groundworks have been among those helping to clear the roads – in many cases, one JCB shovel at a time.
Ilfracombe RNLI had been intending to ferry two South West Water engineers to Lynmouth on Sunday morning to restore water supplies, but it is understood the lifeboat has now been stood down after the ploughs got through to the villages.
* If you’re trapped in Lynton and Lynmouth or the outlying areas, we would like to hear from you about what it has been like. Please email us your comments and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on the North Devon Gazette Facebook page.