Shropshire Star

Couple just had enough time for meal before flood waters invaded Ludlow holiday home

Owners of a holiday letting cottage on the banks of the river in Ludlow were stunned when they received a flood alert as they were 'paddling' in floodwater inside.

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The couple's holiday cottage is right on the bank of the River Teme. Picture: Joan and Chris Birkett.

The River Teme had been rising during Friday but not so fast that owners Joan and Chris Birkett didn't think they had time to advise their guests to have their tea first before leaving.

Mrs Birkett said: "On Friday night at sort of 6 or 7pm we were watching the Environment Agency website which was regularly updating the river levels, so we could see what was happening.

"It was about 3m and we know that it floods when it gets to 4.1m. Our guests thought it was really high but we told them to close the curtains and finish your dinner."

But by the time the couple on holiday from Scotland had finished their meals things were looking more perilous at The Studio, in Temeside, so they were advised that it was time to leave and they had packed stuff up ready.

"At that stage we had no alerts or warnings so we went in and started to move things. We managed to get the carpets up but we are both in our 70s so could not lift the furniture," said Mrs Birkett.

They soon found out that the water was coming up through the floorboards and it was time to get away.

"We were paddling in the house and then received the flood alert," she added.

Being Friday night and the roads being so treacherous, the holidaying couple were put up in a room at the Birkett's house, which is higher up and close by. It was touched by the floods but not enough to be a serious problem.

"I was amazed how quickly the waters had come up," said Mrs Birkett. "It was unbelievable."

"We moved in in 2001 and had been told that it had only flooded in the 1940s," she added.

"Since then we have flooded in 2004, 2020 and now 2023."

As the couple wait for loss adjusters to assess the damage Mrs Birkett was wondering what the cause was of the latest flood.

"We live between the two weirs which have been repaired but in the summer the water is like a mill pond and silt has built up, raising the water level," she said.

"In the past the river used to be dredged but they don't do that any more.

"A dredged river might have given us more time, I don't know," she added.

The holidaying couple left Ludlow early on Saturday morning for their journey back north of the border.

As for the future Mrs Birkett said the site is a "wonderful spot" but the couple were now considering their options.

"We are too old for this now," she said.