Environment Agency Flood Alerts

Newcomers to Winterbourne Stoke are often surprised to find we are in a flood alert area, especially given the size of the River Till.  Oddly enough we are in a very unusual flood area and the River Till catchment is often studied in university hydrology courses as a classical example of upland flooding.  Often, this isn’t just caused by the river overspilling its banks, but by rising groundwater as well.  That is why we keep an eye on both the rainfall over the winter period and the groundwater levels in the nearest monitored catchment area (Tilshead) to see how both the river and the ground are coping.

The most notorious flood on the River Till happened in 1841, when heavy rain, falling on frozen ground, over an already sodden catchment, caused a torrent of water to rush down the Till valley, taking people and buildings with it.  You can read a contemporary newspaper account here and there are several websites that be found by searching for “till flood 1841”

Now that was a very unusual event and we don’t want to be alarmist, but less serious floods do occur from time to time.   It is best to be prepared and one way you can do this for yourself is to register for the Environment Agency Flood Alert scheme.  You can also keep an eye on these pages to get an idea of what is going on.

Tilshead Borehole Level – 1st December 2016

The first reading for this years Flood Risk Season shows a level of 79.7 metres, roughly average for this time of year.  The level has been falling slowly but steadily since the heavy rains a week ago.  There seems to be little rain in the forecast (see below), so little prospect of sudden changes in the aquifer.


The weather forecast for the next period is as follows:

UK Outlook for Tuesday 6 Dec 2016 to Thursday 15 Dec 2016:

Tuesday is likely to see more dry and settled weather for most of the country, with sunny spells. Where the cloud breaks overnight, this is likely to bring local frost and fog. However, the far west of the country is likely to become breezy on Tuesday, with some patchy rain later. From Wednesday, this rather wetter and windier weather will gradually spread further south-east. As it does so, the wind and rain will gradually ease so the south-east may well stay dry. It will become milder across the country with less frost than recently. Into next week, this milder, wetter and windier theme is likely to continue but in general, winds will be stronger and rain will be heavier in the north-west, whereas the south-east will stay drier and quieter.

Church Services – December 2016

There will not be an evening service at Winterbourne Stoke on the 4th December as there is an Advent Carol Service at Little Langford where members of our usual congregation will be singing in the choir.

Our next Service will be our usual morning  Common Worship (St. Thomas’ Mass) on the 18th December .    There will be a private baptism in the afternoon of Sunday 18th December.

Our Village Carol Service will be on the 20th December at 6.30 pm.   There will be mulled wine and mince pies  after the service.  for the adults and soft drinks & crisps for the children.   NB.   This is a change – the service was originally planned for 22nd December.

Joy Horne

Tilshead Borehole Water Levels

For the last few years, Andy Shuttleworth has been monitoring the water levels in the Tilshead borehole during the winter.  This, together with rainfall data provided by Janet Abbott’s wonderful website at: http://www.winterbournestokeweather.co.uk/  gives us a little bit of warning as to when some of the lower lying properties in the village may experience flooding from the rising water table.

We will be publishing weekly updates to the information which will look something like this:


The straight blue line at the top of the graph show the level when water spills out of the borehole in Tilshead.  When this happens, we will have flooding in some properties in the village, as happened over Christmas/New Year 2013-2014 – shown by the Yellow dotted line.  The black dotted line shows the average depth of water in the borehole over the last 4 years.   This years data will be shown by the red dotted line and will go live on December 1st.