Aldbourne Heritage Centre
Painting of central Aldbourne - dated about 1840
Central Aldbourne – about 1840
Photograph of Lottage Road near Goddards Lane, flooded - January 1915
Lottage Rd near Goddards Lane- January 1915

Aldbourne has occasional ‘flooding’ for two main reasons. First, it is situated at the confluence of several downland valleys none of which have a permanent water course. In periods of excessive rain, especially short intense rain storms, excess water is not absorbed quickly enough by the ground especially if it is already saturated or frozen. Instead the water rushes down the valleys into the village centre where it can overwhelm the drains and the brook. These floods quickly disperse. Second, the underlying chalk can only

Photograph of Oxford Street / South Street Junction flooded - January 1915
Oxford Street from the Pond -January 1915

store a certain amount of accumulated rain water. During long periods of wet weather and especially in late winter, the chalk reaches saturation, the

Photograph of The Pond looking towards South Street, boys on stilts in the flooded area around the pond - January 1915
The Pond towards South Street – January 1915

water ‘table’ rises and excess water ‘leaks’ out by way of various springs which can overwhelm drains and the brook. Once started the springs may flow for several months. Here are some examples from the last 200 years.

24 April 1811

A villager’s journal for that date records ‘…..came

Photograph of flood on South Street taken from area near pond - February 1940
From the Pond towards South Street- February 1940

on about 7 o’clock in the evening very terrible thunder and lightning and soon after a cloud burst….with wonderful hail for about an hour. The heaviest past of the storm came on…..across

Photograph of flooded West Street looking towards The Square - February 1940
West St towards The Square – February 1940

Upper Upham, Snape Meadows, Lodge and Hillwood. A grand body of water entered West Street, Castle Street and down Butts and struck …against Mr Wells’s Bell Shop [near the Pond]about 5 feet high and much entered the house and garden. South Street was completely filled….up to a man’s knees. It entered The Malt House and covered the malt on the lower floors….and cottages below were nearly filled with

Photograph of flood in The Square looking towards The Crown- February 1940
The Square towards The Crown- February 1940

water and mud’.

January 1915

After a very wet autumn in 1914, the chalk downs

Photograph of flood in The Square looking towards Castle Street - February 1940
The Square – February 1940

were saturated. Many springs appeared in the village and the overflowed the brook for many days.  As can be seen the young lads in the village seemed well prepared with their stilts !

A similar situation caused the flooding in winter 2013/14.

4 February 1940

Photograph of flood around The Pond looking towards The Crown- 1987
The Pond flooded – 1987

After many weeks of freezing weather with heavy snow, the ground was frozen. On 3 February heavy rain and a rapid thaw set in. The melted snow and rain could not be absorbed by the frozen ground and suddenly flooded the village. Local diarist

Photograph of flood in the Square looking towards The Junction and West Street -  February 2014
Floods – February 2014

Muriel Foster wrote ‘ ….the water in Lottage Road was 5 feet deep and by morning people in Lottage were marooned in their bedrooms while furniture floated about downstairs. High Town was a lake which was unable to disperse and….so large holes were made in the wall and roaring torrents swept out. The West Street flood stretched half a mile to New Barn……. and [in South Street] the

Photograph of floodwater flowing down Castle Street - February 1940
Castle Street -February 1940

roads and stream were indistinguishable…the bridges had inches of water over their tops’. Fortunately by the morning of 5th, it had mostly drained away.

Photograph of the Display Panel in 2015 - Aldbourne Floods
Display Panel 2015 – Aldbourne Floods