Ouse Valley Floods

Ouse Valley Floods - Trees below Aqueduct
Ouse Valley Floods – Trees below Aqueduct

Yesterday afternoon I glanced out of my window and noticed a spreading line of water stretching out, from the River Ouse, across the Cosgrove fields. This morning, heading out before the sun was up, I wandered into the floods.

Ouse Valley Floods

I was filled with tricky decisions as I looked across the Ouse Valley, the sun not having broken the horizon. My regular routes appeared to be underwater. I should have worn my boots. So while I started around the church in Old Wolverton, I quickly decided there was no point walking from here to the river (if I even could). so headed instead directly to the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve, and passed Manor Farm.

Flooded Ouse Valley
Flooded Ouse Valley, pre-sunrise

Ponies & Sunrise

As I crested the hill and could see the nature reserve below me, the first thing I noticed was that in the fields below the farm, two of the Konik Ponies were grazing. Obviously moved for safety to higher ground, the other two were still on the reserve.

Walking towards the Farm Hide I was stunned by the sheer amount of water, the nearer I got the more it dawned that I would have no hope of accessing the hides, and in fact by the time I reached the first gate I realised I wouldn’t be walking the paths either.

Not that I will complain, as the site of that much water is one to behold. Especially as the sun was beginning to rise behind me and the sky was turning into a golden pink.

Panoramic of the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Panoramic of the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve – Click for larger version
Pony on fire - sunrise behind a Konik Pony
Pony on fire – sunrise behind a Konik Pony
Pink skies over Farm Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Pink skies over Farm Hide at the Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve

The birdlife on the reserve was very limited, at least in the areas that could be seen, very few ducks could be seen. There was the odd whistle from a Teal; and a male Goosander flew through, but otherwise nothing.

More Floods

I briefly tried to enter the reserve from the Aqueduct end, but water was flowing along the path at the pace of the river. And was too deep for my walking boots.

The canal was bright and sunny as I wandered the thin towpath, heading towards Cosgrove. Dropping down to the River I could see just how fast and furious the water was running.

Gulls using the fields as ponds
Gulls using the fields as ponds

Through the Aqueduct

Passing under the canal to check the western reaches of the Ouse, the tale was much the same. Areas usually teeming with dog walkers, were deep under water, paths now invisible under muddy brown water. Geese and gulls swam the now lake like fields. The old canal route, now refilled and burst, was as impassable as I had surmised when looking down across the valley an hour or so earlier in the day.

With little chance of passing, even if I had worn my rubber boots, I headed back up along the canal.

Bridge Handrail under water.
Bridge Handrail under water.
Oak tree stood in river ouse flood waters
Think what flooding this old Oak has seen over the years

Surprise Birds

What I was not expecting today was a patch year tick, let alone two! Yet as I walked back towards Old Wolverton, a calling finch flew over. A quick check and I was watching a Brambling fly off into the distance. Stunned by this little finches presence (I see maybe 1 or 2 a year if I am lucky) I carried on walking, aiming to head down to the old lock from above. Hoping there would be a clear path from the church.

But before I had reached the end of the canal another calling bird caught my attention. Picking this bird out in the bushes a Marsh Tit slowly worked its way through the hedges. Again a bird I see if I am luck once a year now. Although years ago they were not uncommon beside the Aqueduct.

Old Spadger - The once common, now sadly in great decline House Sparrow
Old Spadger – The once common, now sadly in great decline House Sparrow

Old Lock

Eventually I was back at the old lock entrance. And started to wander through. I knew I wouldn’t get all the way, having seen the water at the other end but I was surprised I made it all the way to the old lock itself. However the area itself was quite quiet in terms of birds.

Heading back out I spotted a number of birds picking around on the frozen edges of the flood waters. Great Tits were hanging on the long grassy edges; a Robin was regularly hopping down from a fence post to pick at the ice; Blackbirds flew and skittered across the frozen water; and a number of Redwing hopped about the crystalline surface. The latter an unusual site (I’ve never seen them on ice before).

European Robin on fence post
European Robin
Redwing on Ice
Redwing on Ice

Home Fields

I now made my way back home across the sheep fields. Pausing for a few last photos of the floods, as the five bar gate I photographed my daughter climbing on Boxing Day, stood deep in the creeping water. The furrows left by the old village now slowly filling with icy water.

Floods over the Fields
Floods over the Fields
Semi Submerged Gate
Semi Submerged Gate

Other Photos

Flooded Paths & Fields
Flooded Paths & Fields
Icy waters of the Floodplain Forest NR
Icy waters of the Floodplain Forest NR
Sunrise over Manor Farm
Sunrise over Manor Farm
Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Floodplain Forest Nature Reserve
Floodwaters of the Floodplain Forest
Floodwaters of the Floodplain Forest
Konik Pony at Sunrise
Konik Pony at Sunrise
Post in the Floods
Post in the Floods
Gulls in the flood waters
Gulls in the flood waters
Redwing hunting the ice
Redwing hunting the ice
Robin hopping through a wire fence
Robin hopping through a wire fence
Great Tit
Great Tit
Holy Trinity Through the Trees
Holy Trinity Through the Trees

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Ouse Valley Floods - a walk in the flooded fields of the Ouse Valley at Sunrise.

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16 Replies to “Ouse Valley Floods

      1. I’ve started my kids young with the camping so they don’t know any better. I’ve found it can be incredibly cold in the middle of summer so hopefully they won’t realise the difference…

  1. Stunning photos, Ashley, it would be very hard to pick a favourite, although I absolutely love the panoramic and the pony on fire! Last year around Christmas most of Ireland’s midlands along the Shannon looked like this for a while – so much water, it’s incredible!
    #Adventurecalling

    1. I know they can be devastating to some, but there is something amazing in nature when she shows her power in the form of a flood like this. A reminder that no matter how much we think we are in charge, we really aren’t

  2. Wow! You’ve certainly had some pretty severe flooding your way. Is that usual for the area? What amazing photographs you’ve taken to capture it though. The colours in the sky make that walk worthwhile alone. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling . I hope you can tomorrow when it opens again.

  3. Beautiful photos, I particularly like the ponies and the skating redwing! There’s something amazing about nature when it unleashes it’s full force. Thanks so much for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

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