Cycling in Somerset.

I like hydrology, the science of how water moves through our environment, and I like cycling. Cycling through Somerset to explore the region and to see its unique landscape that makes it so prone to flooding was therefore a very fitting start for our project. We spend a day cycling from Taunton to the uplands and back down along the river Parret. We experienced the flat Levels and Moors, and how the landscape rises in the upper parts of the catchment. It is easy to see how water will collect in the uplands and come down through a river whose edges are higher than the surrounding landscape. Nothing protects houses from flooding outside the towns ones the river reaches bankful discharge.


Somerset bike ride


One of the most startling images was seeing a large number of houses in different states of repair after they had been flooded. Being located just meters next to the river Parret and unprotected means that they flooded as soon as the river overflowed. Small differences in topography made the difference between getting flooded and staying dry. I can imagine how worrying it must be to see the river levels rise to the edge, just meters away from your house. How does this environment define people’s relationship with water?




Thorsten Wagener