Floods on Tadham Moor, south of Wedmore, on the Somerset Levels; 20 Jan 2008.
This archive presents some of the pictures that I’ve taken on the Somerset Levels over many years. More context can be found in the first post in this archive – 1 – and also in my first Somerset Levels post, from 2011 – here . Further posts in this archive are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 . All of these links will open in separate windows.
Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.
Technique: F6 with Sigma 12-24 lens at 12mm; Fuji Provia 400X colour slide film rated at 1600 ISO.
SOMERSET LEVELS: SOME KEYWORDS
And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:
Droves: to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.
Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field. These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.
Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.