Thunderstorm hits the Valley

Following the very hot and humid weather, we have been hit by the inevitable storms over the last week. On Wednesday last, 12th August, we experienced a nasty storm in the late afternoon which produced a massive downpour accompanied by thunder and lightning.

This proved to be a test for the drainage improvements recently carried out in Valley Road near the village hall. In fairness, the works aren’t yet complete as Valley Road itself has to be re-laid with an altered camber to assist the drainage. In many respects the road drainage coped well.

However, as the pictures below show, the road was swamped at the foot of Coombe Lane, and in at least one instance, a garden was flooded. This has been reported to TfB, and a useful set of pictures of the road flooding has been provided which should help with planning any remedial work.

Road Works Nearing End

The Valley Road drainage works are nearing completion, with the Coombe Lane section only to be finished.

During last week there were concerns that Valley Road (with its new drains) became awash at one point – see pics below. However, we are assured by TfB that the gullies were likely working OK and that once the Coombe Lane section is completed and all new gullies jetted, that the whole system will perform well.

The final part of the roadworks will happen late July or August when the Valley Road will be resurfaced. This will alter the road camber and prevent accumulation of surface water on the road and also stop water cascading down onto the east side pavement.

Road Works Continuing

The road works providing the extra road drainage near the village hall are now about two weeks in and progressing well. On Valley Road itself this work is largely finished with extra drains inserted on the eastern side of the road and further drains being dug up Coombe Lane.

On Coombe Lane at the junction with Coombe Gardens an extra large soakaway has been created and this is still to be linked to the road drains.

Article Submitted for Hughenden News

The following article was submitted for the Summer edition:

The Hughenden Stream

Following the wet winter, we enjoyed a remarkably warm and dry spring. This has had one knock-on effect on the Hughenden Stream and that is that we enjoyed its flow for a relatively short period of time. In fairness as I write this, it continues to flow nicely down through the park, but in the upper reaches of the winterbourne it’s become a dry ditch in places.

As far as I am aware, the stream in the upper reaches only flowed from Boss Lane downwards. If we get a nice hot summer as has been predicted, then the stream in the park may dry sooner than expected, especially given also the recent lack of rain.

Drainage works in the valley

The long promised road drainage improvement works along Valley Road by the village hall have happened. Unfortunately, as we know these sorts of works inevitably cause traffic disruption, but can’t be helped unfortunately.

This work was primarily aimed at preventing road and property flooding and was the final part of a program of work that has been carried out over several years. This work included:

  • Introducing larger chambers to road drains at the foot of Coombe Lane
  • Diversion of water flows on Coombe Lane to make best use of several deep chambered drains to hold back flows in big downpours.
  • Clearing and jetting of ditches and piped areas leading down to the pumping station.

Water runoff from the road

It is not uncommon in the village hall area of Valley Road for owners to take action to modify their drive entrances to prevent the ingress of water from the road or pavement onto their properties. They should not really be obliged to do this; rather it is the council’s responsibility to prevent  water from the road entering house owners’ properties. If you suffer from this problem along Valley Road, please drop an email to the DIG to let us know about it.

Road Works and The Stream

Road Works

On Monday 22nd June, the long predicted roadworks in Valley Road near the village hall started taking shape with the arrival of men and equipment. Unfortunately, this work will cause traffic problems because of the inevitable 3-way traffic control system, and will no doubt last a few days.

This work is primarily aimed at preventing road and property flooding and is the final part of a program of work that has been carried out over several years. This work includes:

  • Introducing larger chambers to road drains at the foot of Coombe Lane
  • Diversion of water flows on Coombe Lane to make best use of several deep chambered drains to hold back flows in big downpours.
  • Clearing and jetting of ditches and piped areas leading down to the pumping station.

The Stream

The stream continues to dry, although is still running merrily from the pumping station down through Church Farm and on into the Park. It’s dry in Boss Lane, and I don’t think reached any higher than that this year.

AGM & Other News

AGM matters

In light of the Coronavirus situation it has been decided to postpone the AGM until September at the earliest. The work on preparing and auditing the accounts will be done meanwhile; Bob Hawkins has kindly agreed to do the accounts again and we will submit all documentation via email.

New Committee Member

Debs Lemon has been added as a member of the DIG committee.

Jonathan the Engineer

Jonathan Roberts, our friendly and supportive TFB engineer has been seen in the Valley over the last week. I approached him to find out the latest.

He was just doing a few checks on the state of the drains (including sticking his head down the inspection pit in the grass outside the village hall). I had wondered if we had a problem there but apparently not, just some silt, and he said that it would all be blown through when they came to do the promised work on boosting the drainage system that has been planned for some time now.

He expects this work to be done July/August now, so we’ll see.

The Stream

Well, no sooner had we got all excited about seeing the stream running through our gardens than it’s all started drying up!

Fortunately, it continues to run through the fields below the pumping station and, of course, through the park. North of the pumping station it will soon become just a muddy mess, but it has been a joy to experience it for a month or two. If anyone has a photo of it, send it in and we will add it to the website.

Latest Flooding Alert from EA

Flood alert

Areas affected: Groundwater flooding in the High Wycombe area

ACTIVE

Started at: 09:22 BST on Wed 29 April

Flooding is possible – be prepared

Groundwater levels are high at our Piddington observation borehole near High Wycombe. Groundwater has reached a level where communities – particularly those near Radnage and in the Hughenden Valley – could be affected within weeks by flooding from groundwater. However, due to the recent drier conditions, groundwater levels have continued to drop over the last week. Levels at the Piddington observation borehole are below the level where we would expect to see flooding impacts but there may be locations where groundwater is flooding at the surface. Low-lying land and roads would be at risk of flooding first. Due to the nature of groundwater behaviour, this situation could continue for several weeks or longer dependent on rainfall conditions. The weather forecast is for an unsettled week (29 April to 5 May 2020) with potentially heavy showers at times. We continue to monitor groundwater levels and will update this message next week by 6 May 2020, or as the situation changes.

Issued at: 09:22 BST on Wed 29 April

Issued by: The Environment Agency

Continuing Alerts from EA

Areas affected: Groundwater flooding in the High Wycombe area

ACTIVE

Started at: 08:56 BST on Wed 22 April

Flooding is possible – be prepared

Groundwater levels have slightly declined but remain high at our observation site, Piddington borehole, in the Wycombe area including Radnage and the lower Hughenden Valley. Groundwater levels in this area are at a level where communities may be affected in the next few weeks by flooding from groundwater. Low-lying land and roads are at risk of flooding first. Due to the nature of groundwater behaviour, this situation could continue for several weeks or longer, and the speed at which flooding will occur is dependent on rainfall conditions. The weather forecast is for a mainly dry week (21 April to 28 April 2020). We continue to monitor groundwater levels and will update this message next week by 29 April 2020, or as the situation changes.

Issued at: 08:56 BST on Wed 22 April

Issued by: The Environment Agency

Environment Agency Flood Alert

Last week the Environment Agency issued a flood alert for the High Wycombe area.

Flood alert

Areas affected: Groundwater flooding in the High Wycombe area

ACTIVE

Started at: 10:03 BST on Wed 15 April

Flooding is possible – be prepared

Groundwater levels are high at our Piddington observation borehole near High Wycombe. Groundwater has reached a level where communities – particularly those near Radnage and in the Hughenden Valley – could be affected within weeks by flooding from groundwater. However, due to the ongoing drier conditions, groundwater levels have now started to drop.

Levels at the Piddington observation borehole are below the level where we would expect to see flooding impacts but there may be locations where groundwater is flooding at the surface. Low-lying land and roads would be at risk of flooding first. Due to the nature of groundwater behaviour, this situation could continue for several weeks or longer dependent on rainfall conditions. The weather forecast is for a mainly dry week (15 April to 21 April 2020) with potential for showers on Friday and Saturday. We continue to monitor groundwater levels and will update this message next week by 22 April 2020, or as the situation changes.

Issued at: 10:03 BST on Wed 15 April Issued by: The Environment Agency

Article submitted for Hughenden News Spring edition

The Hughenden Stream

In amongst the current gloom of Coronavirus and the winter’s wet weather, it is a pleasure to be able to report good news in that the Hughenden Stream is flowing in the Valley. Perhaps this is unsurprising as the rain seems to have been a daily event since last October. However, it is always a joy to see the stream flowing and this will be welcome by Valley residents and visitors to the park. On a cautionary note, the stream is flowing rapidly now and in the lower area of the park care is needed.

The stream was flowing down in the park late last year and since then its rising has gradually worked its way back up the Valley, as it tends to do. There is a circular depression in the field below the pumping station and this started filling with water in January. By February water was steadily flowing from this spring into the stream and down through Church Farm. In early March, water had started rising in the winterbourne ditches in back gardens up from the Surgery. Who knows how far up the Valley the water will flow from this year? 

The Valley

Thankfully, although we have suffered an extremely wet winter and the stream is running, the Valley has not suffered too badly compared to recent years. We have been very fortunate locally compared with others less fortunate than ourselves, particularly folk in the Midlands, North and the West living near substantial rivers and have suffered flooding of their homes and communities.  Spare a thought for them.

The rain for us has been spread over a long period, appears to have been relatively light, and we seem to have experienced few of the concentrated heavy downpours of the last couple of years. Nor, indeed, have we suffered the groundwater and sewage flooding experienced in 2000 and 2014, probably because the water table was at a very low level approaching the Autumn.

DIG Activity

Fortunately, despite the wet winter, our activity has been fairly low. The biggest concern has been with the local drainage ditches which have become clogged on several occasions requiring council intervention. 

Just recently, sewage was spotted spewing from an inspection cover in the field outside the pumping station and running down into the stream. Thankfully, Thames Water responded quickly to resolve this problem, but residents should be aware of this when walking in this area.

This year we await further work by Transport for Bucks in improving the road drainage near the Village Hall; this should be due from April onwards.