AS gales battered North Devon coasts on Monday the massive disruption which had been so feared did not materialise - but there was still more than enough to keep emergency services and Devon County Highways crews busy. High tides fed by winds gusting up t

AS gales battered North Devon coasts on Monday the massive disruption which had been so feared did not materialise - but there was still more than enough to keep emergency services and Devon County Highways crews busy.High tides fed by winds gusting up to 60 or 70 miles per hour and plenty of rain led to surface flooding in the morning at East-the-Water, Winkleigh and Parkham, together with flood reports at Combe Martin and Roundswell. Ilfracombe College was closed on Monday and Tuesday after a water mains burst.Appledore fire fighters went to the aid of nine horses trapped by the tide at Northam Burrows, leading the animals to safety.At Fremington Quay, the 500-tonne Severn Sands dredger broke moorings and headed down river, becoming beached off the quay as the tide dropped.County Councillor Rodney Cann said specialist contractors had made it secure and it would have to remain there for a month until the next big tide.At Instow, an ice cream kiosk was dismantled after wind damage left its roof hanging precariously.Traffic chaos ensued in Barnstaple on Monday afternoon as the new Taw Bridge was closed for the first time due to the high winds.The county reported that its crews dealt with eight instances of fallen trees in the North Devon and Torridge areas. Homes, including some at Combe Martin, lost power after cables were damaged, but on the whole the first great storm of 2008 proved relatively uneventful.