Pickering was flooded in June 2007 and damaged premises in Park Road, Beck Isle museum, the houses nearby, the bottom of the High Street, around Hungate Bridge, the bottom of Viverís Road and around Viverís Mill. As usual the gravel in the beck needs clearing.

The beck here has been rearranged many times over the years by railways, fish farms and more recently by council car parks, new bridges and general poaching of the banks. Some of the lines are very approximate but the beck flood width should be 24m as per Beck Isle Bridge. Obviously it will be difficult to return to this width because of new building but that probably means the flooding cannot be prevented.

Beck Isle area was flooded by water that came down Wells Lane, appropriately named, and seeing the beck just below one of the footbridges upstream is only 3m wide this is not surprising. There is mill race at the other side of the railway carrying part of the floodwater but this is controlled by a 1m wide sluice gate upstream. The fish farm tries to adjust flood water levels by the sluice as necessary but in 2007 this was not sufficient and flood warnings by the proprietor were ignored.

Beck Isle bridge is the oldest bridge in town and sets the flood width of the beck at 24m when the bridge was built. This has four arches on the up stream side and three on the down stream side - the west arch is hidden and nearly blocked. There also used to be a mill race involved but this water still had to pass the bridge. Two arches on the west, upstream side are nearly blocked and the west arch on the down stream side has been blocked by a new building. The ground level under the steel balcony has been raised by a small wall stopping any water that used to flow beside the building and blocking the west arch. The flood level is raised by bridges and works downstream but clearing the arches is simple and will help drain this area.

Between Beck Isle and Ropery bridges the banks have been reinforced and extended into the beck, the east side some time ago and the west recently, minimum width is now approximately 7m.

Ropery bridge is modern with a width of 12m. On the upstream east side some one appears to have built the old retaining wall to block 2m of the bridge or the bridge was built beyond the wall. The house involved has recently had flood barriers fitted across the front door.

Immediately below Ropery bridge the council has built a flower bed and car park with concrete walls against the beck and handrail on top, there is also the 10m wide footbridge with encroaching abutment. On the opposite bank there is a flood wall reducing the beck width to approximately 6.5?m. Beck Isle was originally 24m. This is the narrow point perhaps causing the High Street to flood.

Hungate Bridge is 20m wide but the new wall against the car park reduces this to 16m by a square recess on the west side. The buildings on the down east side were flooded. A dentistís surgery has been built recently on the south west corner of the bridge encroaching on the beck. Below here is a 12m wide railway bridge - the beck is 8m wide.

Down stream of Hungate Bridge the land between the beck and Viverís Road used to be a coal yard and is about to become a supermarket site. Here as usual the land has been extended into the beck which reaches a minimum width of 6.5?m. The water exits the site through a gateway 120m below Hungate and promptly floods the transport yard, the industrial estate and 3 houses across the road. Is it possible to widen the beck as part of the supermarket development as it will be too late afterwards?

Down by Viverís mill the beck is split by a weir. This weir had a bypass sluice, now concreted, which along with a sluice at Low mill could be opened before a flood to lower the water levels in town - this is easy to do with a little organisation. The beck continues under a road bridge, 5m wide, and past a retaining wall against the road leaving a beck width of 3 m. The other half of the beck used to flow in a 3m wide race to the mill but the sluice is now permanently closed. The houses round the mill and the field above the weir approaching the new estate were flooded. There is an old railway embankment bridging the river with a dry flood bridge alongside 80m below the road bridge.


Pickering Story