“WE’VE turned into an island – it’s as if we have been marooned.”
The wettest January in almost 250 years has affected those living in Bransgore more than most.
When the flooding has been particularly bad, it has closed both the Avon Causeway and Stony Lane while Derritt Lane has been impassable for several weeks.
The huge levels of surface water also forced the closure of Sopley School last Friday.
It’s meant that anyone wanting to venture from the village has first had to consider exactly how they are going to get there – and how long it might take.
At the Coffee House in the village centre, Jackie Russell describes the past few weeks as ‘an adventure’.
“It does feel like we’re living on an island,” she said.
“We’re not as badly off as other people, we could be living in Somerset, but you do have to think before you go anywhere.”
She is one of Bransgore’s community responders and said: “We have a huge problem at the moment because so many roads are flooded.
“We only have two vehicles and one is a van that has been off the road since Christmas because it can’t go through the floods.”
Colleague Heather Wright added: “It is a bit like being marooned. People trying to come in from Ringwood are finding it takes around 45 minutes. And the roads are bad – if you can avoid the flood, you can’t avoid the potholes.”
At Derritt Lane, Sopley, a Renault Clio has been abandoned in the floodwater.
Yet despite this visual warning, and prominent ‘road closed’ signs, motorists are still attempting to drive through the floods. A white Renault van makes it barely a third of the way across before getting stuck.
Richard Frampton, the chairman of Bransgore Parish Council, comes to his aid in his Land Rover.
Is this the first time he’s had to assist a stranded motorist?
“No, I did two yesterday,” he laughed. “Van drivers are the worst.
“One guy yesterday was trying to get to the airport to make a flight and got stuck. I took him up to the airport to make sure he got there in time.”
Patrick Northway, who is working near Derritt Lane, said: “I can’t understand people trying to come through here.
“I wouldn’t have thought people would be that stupid – you can’t even see where the road is.”
Maggie Laidlaw, who lives in Derritt Lane, has sandbags piled outside her property and has so far succeeded in keeping the water at bay.
She said: “The water came into our yard on Friday but we’ve managed to contain it.
“New Forest council has given us sandbags and helped us as much as we can but there’s only so much you can do.”