Businesses and homes were threatened with the risk of significant damage and disturbance from the arrival of storm Babet last week. It had a major impact on Ludlow and the West-Midlands. 

Roads were closed in both directions in Ludlow on Friday the 20th of October due to flooding on the A49. From the 18th to the 20th of October, claimed that the river Teme had risen from 1.34 meters to 4.47 meters in height due to unprecedented rainfall. This change caused the river Teme to burst it’s banks, resulting in localized flooding. In 2020, a similar flood in Ludlow caused the river’s height to peak at 5.19 meters. This year, closure of the A49 prevented residents of Ludlow from travelling to Hereford, Leominster, Shrewsbury, and even central Cheshire.

Many buildings along the river have been affected by the floods and major roads were closed, preventing business owners from travelling. The Ludlow library, leisure centers in both Bishop’s Castle and Much Wenlock, the Tally Ho pub, just north of Ludlow and The Craven Arms household recycling center were forced to temporarily shut because of this. However, two businesses by the river in Ludlow were running as usual: Dinham Weir House and Csons cafe. I visited both business on Saturday morning and an unexpected, rather comedic sight was taking place. Regular wild swimmers, Isla and Jules, deprived of swimming in their favourite spot outside Dinham Weir House, had settled for the safer option of brunch instead. removed Ludlow’s flood risk warning at 7.36 pm on October 21st and the rain has thankfully stayed away since and the river is returning to normal.

With Ludlow’s increasing flood risk, the physical and financial impact from rising river levels continues to impact the town in many ways. The quality of the water in which many people, including Isla and Jules, swim in, is becoming dirtier due to debris from floods and runoff from farmland. The town council has applied for Designated Bathing Water Status for the River Teme in Ludlow in the hope that with cleaner water, fewer people will fall ill from wild swimming, the impact from flooding is reduced and biodiversity in the area will begin to develop. A letter has been written to the Secretary of State for the Environment from the Town council as improving the quality of life for the residents in Ludlow is one of their stated aims and the improved water quality of the Teme is key to achieving this.