Boscastle- River Valcency

Case Study- Boscastle, River Valency 

Name and locate a river and the cause and effects. 8 mark question.

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  • Created by: Jaskeert
  • Created on: 12-05-12 19:23


Boscastle is a picturesque, rural village, and is popular with tourists. It is located on the northern coast of Cornwall, in the far South West of England. Boscastle is approximately 80 miles and 45km from the nearest large urban area, Plymouth. The village has two rivers meeting there, Valency and Jordan, which come from the high hills of Bodmin Moor. These rivers are the main cause of the flood. The nearest main road to Boscastle is the A39. 

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Many things caused this flood, which is why it was so   disastrous. First of all, the rain; 600 mms of rain fell in just two hours which made it harder for the people to move about and put sand bags in front of their houses. The storm clouds in the sky above the Cornish coast were extremely huge, and the clouds were localised to Boscastle. The flood was also caused by the valley shape. The valleys of the rivers Valency and Jordan are extremely steep, and the valleys are so narrow, they funnel the water down to Boscastle extremely quickly, which also made the flood worse. Both rivers have their sources in the high hills of Bodmin Moor, where relief rainfall occurs. The highest point on Bodmin Moor is 420 metres, which increases the speed of the rivers flowing downhill. The rocks of Boscastle and the surrounding region are impermeable, like slate and granite, which means the rivers cannot sink far into the ground, causing much more water to overflow.  Boscastle is on a flood plain near the sea, and it is located where two rivers with narrow valleys met from different directions. 

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The flood occurred on the 16th of August 2004. Approximately 1000 residents and tourists were affected in the Boscastle flood. 58 properties were severely flooded, 84 damaged cars were recovered from the harbour and lots of household furniture and possessions were washed away to sea. Up to 100 people, especially the elderly, were rescued and airlifted by seven helicopters. The Cornwall County Fire Brigade remained at Boscastle for seven days. A bridge was damaged, and the rivers had totally covered it, allowing cars and other objects to float over it. The severe damage to buildings and properties cost up to £2 million to rebuild. A lot of trees were also uprooted, which could lead to more flooding, as trees prevent it. People became homeless, and had to camp out in the nearby leisure centre. The village was badly scarred by this freak disaster, and jobs and businesses were lost, such as hotel managing. The village contained many historic buildings and pleasant Cornish gift shops, but all were damaged and taken away by the flood.Peoples' lives were traumatized as the natural disaster occured.


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Prevent From Disaster

The Boscastle flood was a natural disaster, there are possible ways which the village of Boscastle could try to tame future flooding. The channels of the rivers Valency and Jordan could be widened and deepened, to increase the capacity of the river. But this would mean dredging the riverbed, a problem for wildlife. In order to increase evapotranspiration, more trees should be planted. This reduces the amount of water that goes into the river, because the trees absorb the water. A very huge safety measure could be taken into action, but this has to be thought about carefully by a dam. This controls the flow of the water in the upper course, which reduces flooding.  They can think about taking action for future flooding after this. 

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