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April Floods Day in pictures: River Stort bursts its banks at Grange Paddocks and road between Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth shut by flooding at Spellbrook





Heavy rain on the last day of March meant a wet start to April as the River Stort burst its banks, the main road between Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth was shut and events were cancelled.

Friday's deluge throughout the day brought localised flooding on Saturday morning, especially in the Sawbridgeworth area, where persistent rain combined with ground saturation and water running off the fields to cause problems for motorists.

The River Stort burst its banks at Grange Paddocks, leaving the adjoining youth football pitches submerged and forcing the postponement of fixtures on Saturday and Sunday as well as Saturday's Castle Park parkrun, whose 5k (3.1-mile) course from Sworder's Field takes in the paddocks.

Grange Paddocks' flooded football pitches
Grange Paddocks' flooded football pitches

The river also lapped onto the footpath beneath the bridge in Station Road.

At Sawbridgeworth, the Stort's water level reached a height of 1.84m (6ft) for almost six hours – 21cm (8.25in) above the top of its normal range of 0.94m-1.63m and only 14cm (5.5in) below its highest recorded level of 1.98m (6ft 6in) nine years ago. At Grange Paddocks, the river reached 1.14m, the top of its normal range.

The main A1184 from Bishop's Stortford to Harlow was closed by police between Spellbrook, where the road was flooded near the primary school, and the West Road/Station Road mini-roundabouts in Sawbridgeworth, forcing motorists to use alternative routes.

The flooded A1184 at Spellbrook on Saturday. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
The flooded A1184 at Spellbrook on Saturday. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue

Several vehicles had to be abandoned by their drivers and on Friday evening a bus got stuck on the grassy verge. On Facebook, Chris Searle commented: "Bus driver thought it would be a good idea to turn around and drive over verge into the layby but got rear wheels stuck in the mud."

The road was passable later on Saturday as traffic used a layby to negotiate its way around the flooded section and had fully reopened by Sunday morning.

On the northern and southern outskirts of Sawbridgeworth, the junction of the A1184 with Parsonage Lane, the road to Trimms Green and Green Tye, was also flooded, as was the A1184 Harlow Road between its junctions with Hand Lane and Redricks Lane, near Pishiobury Drive and the Straw Hat restaurant.

People trying to get to Hatfield Forest via the B1256 Takeley Street found the road at Bush End flooded beneath the Flitch Way's old railway bridge.

Traffic negotiating the road beside the River Stort at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327505)
Traffic negotiating the road beside the River Stort at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327505)

And Audley End House and Gardens, the historic stately home near Saffron Walden, was closed on Saturday.

Despite the heavy rainfall, residents of Stortford Fields in Bishop's Stortford woke on Saturday to no domestic supplies as a result of a problem at the pumping station that supplies water to the town. It was soon resolved by Affinity Water.

The River Stort burst its banks at Grange Paddocks. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
The River Stort burst its banks at Grange Paddocks. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
Swan lake at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327501)
Swan lake at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327501)
The river almost up to the bridge near the weir at Grange Paddocks. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
The river almost up to the bridge near the weir at Grange Paddocks. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
Sheering Mill Lock submerged. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327503)
Sheering Mill Lock submerged. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327503)
The fast-flowing River Stort between Castle Park and Grange Paddocks on Saturday
The fast-flowing River Stort between Castle Park and Grange Paddocks on Saturday
The River Stort threatening to burst its banks at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327499)
The River Stort threatening to burst its banks at Sheering Mill. Picture: Diane Le Count (63327499)
Too wet for a dog walk and to play football - Grange Paddocks on Saturday morning
Too wet for a dog walk and to play football - Grange Paddocks on Saturday morning
The River Stort at Station Road in Sawbridgeworth. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
The River Stort at Station Road in Sawbridgeworth. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue
Road closure signs at West Road in Sawbridgeworth
Road closure signs at West Road in Sawbridgeworth
The raging brook in the dip at Spellbrook
The raging brook in the dip at Spellbrook
The Maltings Lane ford in Much Hadham on Sunday morning. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue (63327385)
The Maltings Lane ford in Much Hadham on Sunday morning. Picture: Herts Boat Rescue (63327385)
The three blue blobs denote the worst flooded points in Sawbridgeworth
The three blue blobs denote the worst flooded points in Sawbridgeworth


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