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Saving the Grand Western Canal, Taunton

1 December, 2015 | 18:00 - 20:00

The Grand Western Canal breaches it banks due to heavy rain.
The Grand Western Canal breaches it banks due to heavy rain.

About this event

Following a very wet year when ground was almost continually saturated, a period of heavy rain caused run off to add to the already very high levels of the Canal. During the morning of November 21, a farmer became aware of excessive flood water passing under the 15m high embankment that carries the canal across a natural valley near Swing Bridge, Halbeton.

It soon became apparent that a potential disaster was in the making, as water overtopped the canal at various places and threatened the stability of the grass covered embankment.

During the day the canal would eventually breach, despite wooden stop boards being installed at bridges by the canal ranger team. With the potential for much of the 11 mile canal to leave the massive breach and threaten the village of Halbeton and surrounding area, it was a race against time to stop the canal that had now turned into a fast flowing river, as millions of litres of water escaped into a now rapidly growing lagoon.

Hear about the immediate emergency response and the subsequent £1,000,000 scheme to permanently reinstate the damage.

Kevin Dentith is the Chief Engineer (Bridges & Structures) in the Engineering Design Group at Devon County Council.

Event materials

The following materials are available for download: