Water levels in rivers and brooks dropping due to lack of rainfall

The Ellington Brook, which passes under the Medieval stone bridge in Spaldwick, has dried up.

The Ellington Brook, which passes under the Medieval stone bridge in Spaldwick, has dried up. - Credit: Chris Hubbard

Water levels in rivers and brooks across Huntingdonshire have begun to show the effects of the recent heatwave and lack of rainfall, with some dropping well below their 'normal' levels.

On July 29, a Government website highlighted the water levels in seven of the 15 Huntingdonshire rivers as being 'low', with many of the other eight close to joining them and dropping below 'normal'.

Spaldwick resident Chris Hubbard discovered that Ellington Brook, which passes under a Medieval stone bridge, had completely dried and sent us some photographs.

The dried-up brook has allowed the community to explore underneath the medieval bridge.

The dried-up brook has allowed the community to explore underneath the medieval bridge. - Credit: Chris Hubbard

Chris, who has lived in Spaldwick for five years, said: “There is normally quite a steady flow down the Ellington Brook, but last weekend (Sunday, July 24), obviously after all the hot weather, it was running dry in quite a few parts of it, so we managed to walk a short distance down there. We’ve never seen it dry up before."

The stone bridge was constructed in the 15th Century and consists of three arches, and can be located at the extreme west of Thrapston Road/High Street.

The lack of water has allowed the community to see the bridge in a new light and explore the brook like never before. 

Underneath one of the arches of the medieval bridge in Spaldwick

Underneath one of the arches of the medieval bridge in Spaldwick - Credit: Chris Hubbard

Chris shared his pictures with the Spaldwick community on Facebook, and the vast majority who have lived in the area for some time agreed that they'd not experienced the brook without a consistent water level.

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One user commented: "I've never seen it like that before. Spent hours down that brook but never seen it that dried up at all."

Another commented that "not since 1976" had the brook been so dry.

Some of the Spaldwick community said they had never seen the Ellington Brook so dry before.

Some of the Spaldwick community said they had never seen the Ellington Brook so dry before. - Credit: Chris Hubbard

The Met Office has reported that the country was experiencing the driest start to a year since 1976, and most areas in England have moved into 'prolonged dry weather' status.

Chris added: “I know there is a great deal of concern for the waterways, and to see it like that, you think what’s the future got to hold as well.” 

Currently, though, for the first six months of this year, England has had 30 per cent more rainfall than in 1976, and the Environment Agency has advised there are no plans for water restrictions, as have Anglian Water.