Country diary: the rising river threatens to overtake the road


Marshwood Vale, Dorset: The lane ahead floods often and I’ve learned to respect the water’s power

The road ahead is covered with sliding sheets of toffee-brown water. I wonder if it is worse further on and whether we will be able to get through. For now, it’s shallow, no more than surface-skimming, so I proceed cautiously, past the big orange willow in the hedge and down to the bridge over the River Char.

This lane floods frequently. I’ve learned to read the signs and respect the water’s power. One wet winter’s night, coming back from bell-ringing practice in the village, the torrent was stronger than I realised. It lifted my car so that for a second I was steering a boat, adrift in the starless dark, trees crashing overhead.

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