Remembering the North Cornwall floods, 15 years on

- Community News

FIFTEEN years on, people from Boscastle and the surrounding area have been remembering the torrential floods of 2004 that would change the village forever.

On August 16, 2004, torrential rain led to the River Valency bursting its banks and around 1,422-million litres of water pouring through Boscastle, destroying numerous homes and businesses in its wake. With around six hours of rainfall, emergency services had reportedly radioed for help, saying: “We are in danger of losing Boscastle and all the people in it.”

One-hundred-and-fifty vehicles were swept through the village, with 30 swept out to sea, and approximately 100 people were winched to safety by seven rescue helicopters.

Fire crews and coastguard rescue teams were deemed ‘heroes’ by the community, with former fire station manager Mark Saltern of Delabole Community Fire Station having recently been honoured at the Queen’s royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his work during the Boscastle flood.

After the flood, which caused sheer devastation in the village, South West Water reportedly spent around £10-million on new flood defences in the area to prevent such events and destruction happening again.

Rose Bright from Boscastle business Trebyla Farm camping and caravan site has reflected on the loss of homes, possessions and livelihoods that were ‘gone with the water’.

But this isn’t the first flood her family have experienced — Rose’s father and uncle also experienced the flood in 1958, where water rose four and a half metres above the river.

On the anniversary, Trebyla Farm remembered the tragic events of 2004, stating: “At the time, it may have seemed like our tiny village may never have recovered from such a disaster, but here we are, 15 years on with our village thriving and back to its former glory with flood defences in place. Forever grateful to call this beautiful place home.”

Despite being just seven years old at the time, Rose told the Post: “I remember having to pick mum up from work in the tractor with dad and my brother as the water was too high to pass with a car. I also remember the police allowing my dad to go into the village on the tractor once the water had gone down a bit to check on his nephew Adrian, who owns the Cobweb.

“I remember playing in the harbour for months afterwards and coming across lots of people’s belongings. It took years and years before you didn’t see much devastation left from it!”

Many people in the area took to social media sites on Friday, August 16 to remember the floods.

One man who remembers the incident very well is Carl Thorpe, who said: “At the time I was just one mile away trying to go past Boscastle on my way to Tintagel. The sights and sounds, and the rain I saw that day I will never forget.

I was lucky to avoid some of the flooding — it took me four hours to get home, a journey that normally takes just one. A day never forgotten.”

Boscastle Coastguard Rescue Team said: “Fifteen years ago today — the Boscastle floods! That put Boscastle on the map for the wrong reason and to go down in history with the biblical rain that fell over the village. A multi-agency effort for all involved that day.”

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