Huge tree blocks Charvil fordBy Jon Nurse
October 24, 2012
Flashing signs warning people to avoid a dangerous ford have been delayed, but nature stepped in to stop dozy drivers attempting to cross the fast-flowing water.
A huge tree fell into the Lands End ford in the early hours of Sunday morning, blocking the route across the stream, which has swelled to more than four feet deep following heavy downpours.
Four flashing signs costing around £20,000 were due to be installed by the end of this week, but manufacturing problems have pushed the work back to at least the end of November.
Steve Collier, landlord at The Lands End pub in Park Lane, said: “It’s a big tree – it must have been 35-40 foot tall. It looks like it’s lost its footing with erosion of the riverbank and come down.
“At least it will stop people crossing the ford. There’s no way anything could get through. Maybe it’s nature’s way of saying ‘don’t go’.
“It will be impressive to see how they get it out because there is five foot of water to contend with at that point. We’re supposed to have more rain coming as well.”
The council closed the ford following heavy rain last week.
“It’s flooded for the third time this year,” Mr Collier added. “Last week the level got as high as four and a half feet – the normal summer level is only four to eight inches.”
Posts have been set in preparation for the installation of flashing signs, which will be only be the third of its kind in the UK.
A spokesman from Wokingham Borough Council’s traffic management team said: “The signs will not be installed by the original deadline of this week due to manufacturing problems.
“I’m hopeful they will be in by the end of November.”
Charvil Parish Council chairwoman Councillor Alice Wilkinson said: “I think the signs are a great idea and I hope they work.
“Some people may still drive through regardless but I think flashing lights will help. Immense credit should be given to our previous councillor Emma Hobbs. She went to Wales and saw some of these signs there, decided that was what we needed and put in a lot of research to show they were needed.”
Officers from the Environment Agency assessed the tree yesterday and hoped it would be removed either yesterday or today (Wednesday).