FLASH floods hit the parishes of Stokenham and South Pool last week, with the villages of Beeson, South Pool and Chillington being particularly badly hit.

Nine homes in the centre of Beeson were flooded out in the torrential downpours in the early afternoon of Thursday, June 16, with one resident describing the flooding as ‘appalling and dreadful.’

Resident of Beeson, Cllr Charles Rogers of Stokenham Parish Council said: ‘A ferocious rush of water came through our garden, from above us in the valley.

‘There is minimal, superficial damage to the garden, but the house is OK.

‘I’ve lived here all my life, our family have lived in Beeson for four generations, but we’ve never seen rain like this before.

‘This was different, there was about three hours of heavy rain at unprecedented levels, in the midst of 12 hours of drizzle.

‘All of the phone lines are down, and BT are working on resolving this.

‘Some people in the village are now having to look for alternative accommodation on the advise of insurance companies.

‘The emergency services were quick to arrive in the village, and local farmer, Richard Rogers was out in the village with his tractor, clearing mud from the road for the emergency services.

‘The road through the village is passable once more, but with all the water in the fields, and with the hedges being unstable, its possible there’ll be further land slips - it will take a while for the land to recover.’

David Vosper, a resident in Beeson said: ‘There was an unprecedented amount of rain, about three and a half inches fell in about an hour - a very unusual situation.

‘We have an inadequate draining system in Beeson, that goes under the road from the valley.

‘We’ve spoken to engineers about this in the past, but nothing has been done to increase the capacity taking water from the stream.

‘And then the wall collapsed by the road, adding debris to the flood to the north of the village.

‘One of the fields to the west of the village was pouring a lot of debris and mud into the village - so there were several contributory factors.’

Richard Rogers, from Underwood Higher Farm said: ‘I’ve lived here my whole life, but this is the worst I’ve ever seen it.

‘The hedges slipped out, and the mud blocked the road, so no one could get in or out of the village.

‘I went out with my tractor and cleared the mud off the roads so the emergency services could enter the village.

‘The hedges are still pretty unstable, and there is still a lot of mud around.’

Tim Honeywill, resident of Beeson for more than 60 years said: ‘Many people in the village turned out to dig out the road.

‘There was a wonderful community spirit, with everybody working together, and the fire crews were impressed with the display of community - something that always seems to appear during a crisis.’

Up the road in Chillington, residents saw some of the worst localised flooding in living memory.

Cllr Paula Doust from Stokenham Parish Council said: ‘I’ve lived down here all my life, and for most of that time in Chillington, but this is one of the worst floods I’ve ever seen.

‘About two or three years ago, just before Christmas, the Coleridge cottages were completely flooded out.

‘But I’ve never known it to flood so badly in such a short amount of time - especially the impact, severity and the number of homes affected.

‘One property in Meadowside was flooded, along with two properties in Orchard Way opposite the shop.

‘Somebody else had water seeping through the ground floor air vents of their bungalow.

‘And somebody else thought that there was sewage in the water on Tanpits Lane.

‘The main thing though, is that nobody’s homeless in Chillington, but we did receive a torrential downpour of rain.’

The Millbrook Inn along with neighbouring properties in South Pool were left with two metres of standing water indoors after the deluge.

The pub has now started a campaign on social media appealing for help, and £6,300 has been raised in just three days to support Charlie and Tess Baker, who only took over the running of the pub three weeks ago.

A spokesperson for Kingsbridge Fire Station said: ‘The massive quantity of rain which fell resulted in multiple flooding incidents.

‘Our crew was mobilised at 1.56pm on Thursday, June 16, and over the next few hours our colleagues from Salcombe Fire Station, Totnes Fire Station, Dartmouth Fire Station and Plymstock Fire Station were all called into the area to render humanitarian assistance to the community.

‘We were primarily sent to assist the people of Beeson, Kernborough and Chillington.

‘The water was flowing with some speed off the roads and fields. Once the water level started to subside, we were able to help pump water out of the properties.’