Flooding on the Stour

The Dorset Stour forms the Northern border of Corfe Mullen. Its 110 kms long and often floods.
The floodplain at Corfe Mullen is the widest for the whole Stour, about 1.8 km North of Brog Street.

When it floods, it comes right up to the A31, about 700 metres, but the author has never seen the A31 itself flood. During the last 10 years it has flooded 20 times (9 times in the last 11 months), but with long gaps 2003-04-05 (36 months) and 2010-11-12 (27 months).

The Flood dates are:
2003 none | 2004 none | 2005 Dec03 | 2006 Nov26, Dec31 | 2007 none |
2008 Jan16, Mar17, Dec15 | 2009 Feb10, Nov30, Dec04, Dec09 | 2010 Jan18 |
2011 none | 2012 Apr27, May01, Jul08, Nov21,23,25, Dec22 | 2013 Jan14, 29

Each flood is fairly shallow, about 40 cms on average, and it usually drains away in 2-3 days, leaving muddy ground behind. 16 of the 20 floods were between November and February when cattle and sheep have been taken off the floodplain pasture. But in July 2012 36 bullocks were caught by the unusual summer flood, 700 metres from the nearest road.

The farmer later said they were OK but grumpy, because they'd had to stand for 48 hours!
The pasture is protected from frost by high groundwater, the grass begins to grow early and by June is ready for cutting. A second cut usually occurs in September (the 'aftermath'). The frequent floods make the floodplains entirely unsuitable for housing, and it seems the beautiful hedges and pastures will be preseved.

More information from the Author at johnpalmer@eyemead.com

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