A deluge of rain that devastated the countryside

THE year was 2000 and the West Country was suffering under a deluge of rain which devastated homes and the countryside alike.

Britain in 2000 suffered the heaviest rainfall since 1903 and almost certainly the most widespread flooding since the notorious year of 1947, the country had just lived through an historic passage of weather and natural catastrophe.

There was massive flooding in the West Country but one of the worst areas was the River Exe. The river soon burst its banks washing everything away including livestock such as cattle and sheep.

When the water began to subside it was clear that flood damage to the main train line between Exeter and Paddington was going to take some time to repair.

I was the first news photographer to cover the story and my picture shows a railway engineer having to ‘mind the gap’ as he inspects the stretch of line suspended in mid-air, because the track bed had been washed away, just outside Exeter.

Woodmead Halls

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