Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wet weekend in Welshpool

Haven't we had some rain this week?

It's pretty wet on the top of the Long Mountain - and the heaviness of the sky promises more rain to come. The ground is sodden and very squelchy underfoot - one of the penalties of our clay soil. With wellies on though, the inner child can have a mighty fine time. What's there not to like about splashing through puddles?
We're on a hill and our water will drain away in all directions. It's programmed to do that. I imagine that those folk living 3 miles down the road are taking a somewhat less charitable view of this watery abundance.

Down the hill to the west the usually green Severn Valley has become a silvery lake almost as far as the eye can see. Trees and hedges rise incongruously out of the wet.

The river which usually winds slowly and sinuously towards Shrewsbury has burst its banks, filling streams and flooding roads. Here and there, patches of higher ground are safe dry havens for the houses and farms so wisely built on them. On the fringes of the water sheep huddle out of the wet too, on banks and under hedges.

I am reminded that the Severn was probably Welshpool's raison d'etre: a strategic place, a crossing point and an important commercial route - oaks from Montgomeryshire were taken downstream to Bristol to build Britain's Naval fleet. The town developed to the west of the river, a few, but crucial inches, above the flood plain. When the rain falls or the snow melts on the hills which border this flat and fertile valley it still becomes a very wet place indeed.

No comments: