With Ed Milliband visiting the next door village of Purley-on-Thames this morning I felt I ought to take a look myself. I can sympathize with local Conservative MP Alok Sharma asking the labour leader ‘Why are you actually here?’ as there is little a leader of the opposition can do other than be seen to be concerned. The last big flood was in July 2006 when there were similar scenes of boats going down roads. I have included a map of the bits I could see were flooded, actually only about 50 houses which is less than you would expect when you watch the news.
View Purley Floods in a larger map
First I went down to the Thames Path near Tilehurst station. It lives up to its name at present, it is a path in the Thames. The flooding is all into the flood meadows on the opposite northern side.
There was a boat moored where the footpath should be.
Looking west towards Mapledurham the flood meadows were all doing their job.
The new footbridge over the railway has a view to Tilehurst station. A goods train was 'stuck' there for a long time. The water has affected signalling equipment around Maidenhead and the trains were all getting bunched up waiting to get through.
I then walked on to Purley, on the Tilehurst side of the river the land is on a steep slope so there is no danger of flooding until you get down to the flood plain at Purley. However, the A329 was affected by flooding - a blocked drain had closed off one lane. Down at Purley the normal path down to the Mapledurham lock was shut off and the lane flooded.
Walking into Colyton Way the signs of flooding were plain to see. It all looks like disaster for this house, but if you look carefully you will see the whole base of the house is raised a few inches and I don't believe there has been any flooding. Many of the houses have been built with flooding in mind.
The deepest flood I saw was a few yards further on before Colyton Way becomes Wintringham Way. A boat service was being provided and judging by people wading through the waters it was a couple of feet deep.
As I headed east on Brading Way there was less flooding, water was only evident at the Cheshire Grove end, here I could see that waters were draining away back to the Thames along the Thames Path.
I then walked to Purley Church which I half expected to be surrounded with water, it was not, it must be built on slightly higher ground, the Marina is close by so it is only a few yards from the river Thames. However there was a bit of a flood on St. Mary's Avenue. It had subsided a little and cars could now get through.
This was a bit of a mystery as it was a bit higher than the flooded area and there was dry land in between. Then I saw the problem, the drains were overflowing and that is what had caused the flooding here, not very pleasant.
I think the flooding here has passed its peak, but I could be proved wrong - there is more rain in the forecast. Back home in the dry and the crocuses are up and thinking of opening out but not quite yet.