Chew Stoke flood of 1968

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Chew Stoke flood
Close-up of the memorial to the flood, Woollard - - 482605.jpg
Memorial to Old Woollard Bridge, destroyed by the flood.
Date10 July 1968
LocationSomerset, Bristol

Chew Stoke Flood was a heavy rain event and severe flash flood which occurred on 10 July 1968, affecting Somerset and Southwest England in particular the Chew Valley and some areas of Bristol, notably Bedminster.[1] The River Chew suffered a major flood in 1968 with serious damage to towns and villages along its route, including sweeping away the bridge at Pensford.[2]

On 10 July 1968, torrential rainfall, with 175 millimetres (6.9 in) falling in 18 hours on Chew Stoke, double the area's average rainfall for the whole of July,[3] led to widespread flooding in the Chew Valley, and water reached the first floor of many buildings.[4] The damage in Chew Stoke was not as severe as in some of the surrounding villages, such as Pensford where it swept away the bridge over the A37 and damaged the railway viaduct so badly that it never reopened.[2] It also flooded 88 properties in Chew Magna with many being inundated with 8 feet (2.4 m) of water.[3] Fears that the Chew Valley Lake dam would be breached caused considerable anxiety.[2][5]

On the southern side of the Mendip Hills at Cheddar the flow of water swept large boulders down the gorge and damaged the cafe and entrance to Gough's Cave,[6] washing away cars.[7] In the cave itself the flooding lasted for three days.[8]

A Spanish plume[9] weather pattern saw a low over the northwest of Spain track across the Bay of Biscay, hot and humid air advected to the eastern side of the low leading to severe storms.[10] The wake of the storm left 7 fatalities in the United Kingdom.[11]


  1. ^ "Flooding risk: A look back at devastating Bedminster floods of 1968". Bristol Post. 11 November 2013. Retrieved 18 January 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "The great flood of 1968". Memories of Bristol. Archived from the original on 2 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-04.
  3. ^ a b Richley, Rob (June 2008). The Chew Valley floods of 1968. Exeter: Environment Agency.
  4. ^ Hucker, Ernest (1997). Chew Stoke Recalled in Old Photographs. Ernest Hucker. ISBN 0-9531700-0-4.
  5. ^ "Memories of Bristol's Weather – The Great Flood of 1968". Retrieved 2007-07-03.
  6. ^ "40 years since the Great Gorge Flood". Western Mercury. 10 July 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  7. ^ "The Chew Valley floods of 1968" (PDF). Environment Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  8. ^ Donovan, D.T. (2006). "Gough's Cave, Cheddar, Somerset. Quaternary Stratigraphy" (PDF). Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelæological Society. 24 (1): 17–35. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  9. ^ "Spanish Plume". Meteogroup. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Pforzheim 1968". Thomas Sävert. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  11. ^ "Wednesday 10 July 1968" (PDF). Met Office. Retrieved 26 March 2012.

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