Colyton exhibition commemorates floods of 1968

PUBLISHED: 11:04 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 25 March 2019

The scene of devastation in Station Road, Colyton, after the summer storm of 1968. Picture: Environment Agency

The scene of devastation in Station Road, Colyton, after the summer storm of 1968. Picture: Environment Agency

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Summer storm brought death and destruction to the region

Colyton’s Chantry Bridge after the summer storm of 1968. Picture: Environment AgencyColyton’s Chantry Bridge after the summer storm of 1968. Picture: Environment Agency

A massive summer storm which brought death and destruction to many parts of Devon and Somerset some 50 years ago is to be commemorated with as special exhibition at Colyton.

Thousands were driven from their homes and, tragically, a number of lives were lost in the floods of July 1968.

The free exhibition is being organised by The Environment Agency, together with Colyton Parish Council and the town’s history society.

It will take place on Wednesday (March 27) from 2pm to 7pm in Colyton Town Hall and feature photographs of the floods along with maps.

Flooding at Colyford in July 1968 Picture EAFlooding at Colyford in July 1968 Picture EA

Chris Khan, flood resilience officer at the Environment Agency, said: “The impacts of the flood in 1968 were immense. Bridges collapsed causing roads to close. Sidmouth, Colyton, Honiton, Newton Poppleford, East Budleigh and Ottery St Mary all had significant flood damage whilst The Otterhead reservoir was completely washed away.

“Over 750 people attended a similar exhibition in Sidmouth last year. The feedback was very positive and other communities have asked if we could hold another exhibition. We are very excited to be working with Colyton Parish Council and Colyton History Society on this second event.

“The exhibition will include many historical flooding photographs and maps from our archive. We would like as many people as possible to come along, share memories and bring any photographs they have.”

Devon Communities Together (DCT) will also be attending the event. DCT are working with parishes across Devon, helping communities write their emergency plans.

A bridge was destroyed at Upottery in the July 1968 storm. Picture EAA bridge was destroyed at Upottery in the July 1968 storm. Picture EA

Colyton Parish Council is currently looking for volunteers to help out in the community in a number of different roles and will be there on the day to speak to anyone who may be interested.

* The Environment Agency (EA) says much has changed since 1968. Similar storms still occur but people and businesses are better protected than ever before. In the last 10 years the Government has invested more than £6.1 billion in flood risk management work including many flood alleviation schemes across the south west.

There are also tools to help people reduce their own risk of flooding. The EA sends targeted flood warnings to more than a million people in England – giving them vital time to prepare for flooding. You can sign up for free flood warnings by ringing 0345 988 1188.

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