Hazardous debris 'hurtled past' Otterton Mill after River Otter burst its banks

PUBLISHED: 16:21 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:29 15 March 2018

River Otter bursts its banks in Otterton causing roads to flood. Picture: Emma Cooling

River Otter bursts its banks in Otterton causing roads to flood. Picture: Emma Cooling

Archant

Hazardous debris 'hurtled past' Otterton Mill this morning as flood water filled car parks with up to 16 inches of water.

Chris Wright, who runs Otterton Mill restaurant and café with his wife Carol, has described the speed at which this morning’s flooding near Otterton and Budleigh gathered force after the Otter burst its banks.

He said: “There was no water at 4am, but by 8am you would struggle to stand in the car park.”

However, despite the Mill’s overflow car park being beneath 12 – 16 inches of water at one point, Mr Wright and his team avoided going into panic mode.

He said: “It’s disconcerting, but it’s a water mill and we work on that basis – you know what you are dealing with. We didn’t put any flood gates out and we had no water in any of our buildings.

“In Otterton, a lot of water you see hurtle past – and trust me, it does – carrying tree trunks and branches, picks up water from quite a distance.

“It looks dramatic as hell when you see it, but you need to see it a few times – it is part of living and working in a valley.”

At one point today the flooding was so bad Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service closed a road on Sleap Hill, at Otterton Bridge.

But it is now believed the road is passable, as Mr Wright has reported people driving past the Mill in both directions, suggesting the floodwaters may have cleared.

However, two Amber flood alerts remain in place on the Environment Agency’s website for Exmouth at present. These are for the rivers Otter, Sid and the Lower Exe area.

Motorists are therefore still advised to take care and check the Environment Agency’s website for the most recent flood alerts and updates before travelling.

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