Some may think that Somerset is closed or goes into hibernation in winter. This year, more than ever, due to the flooding, many will think of only the peaks of Exmoor rising above the floods, but it’s far from closed.
Ancient traditions and culture continues, the controversial hunting groups populate the hillsides and valleys with their coats and the faint sound of the horn is heard as the hounds leap around.
Work continues on the fields with the daily activities of supplying fodder for the farm animals, and particularly affected are the below sea-level areas where livestock has had to be rescued. Lights illuminate the sky for miles around and the 24/7 pumping continues to try and alleviate the continuing doom which has been an unwelcomed Christmas present for many.
Since the New Year, communities have been cut off and stranded as the waters continue to rise. This area of Somerset has not been its usual peaceful self, instead it has been turned into the UK’s largest pumping area with the Dutch pumps now installed. Wildlife has been woken early this year; rather than by the warmth it’s to the sound of generators and the rushing of water.
Winter in Somerset is all about preparing for the Summer; it’s regenerating the soil, planting life which will only be seen later in the year. But also for many it’s a time of cleaning, renovation, building and organising for the tourists – but some will find it hard to make a go of it this year. For some, they won’t be home for a year once the waters recede. But for the most, the smoke still rises from the chimneys of ancient stone wall cottages, the work continues, the muddy boots are in the house, a glass of cider in the weather-beaten hand, apple crumbles for dinner.
These photos were taken in Winter of 2013/2014. Link to photos of Somerset Flooding see this link