Flash Floods in Wales: past and present

05 August 2013

Dr Cerys Jones, from the Department of Geography at Aberystwyth University will discuss past and present flash flooding on the Aberystwyth University stand at the National Eisteddfod today, Monday 5th August.

Dr Jones will consider whether the ways in which people are affected by floods have changed over the ages? Do we respond to flooding in different ways today? What was the role of the press in disseminating the news?

She says: "We hope to answer these questions using research on flooding which happened in Ceredigion 167 years ago - during the summer of 1846. Very few have investigated these devastating flash floods which killed two men and collapsed houses, roads and bridges along the rivers of mid Ceredigion.”

Using evidence from newspaper reports at the time, Dr Jones concluded that heavy rain fell on the area of ​​high ground in Ceredigion called y Mynydd Bach - Little Mountain, leading to flash flooding between the 30th of July and 2nd August, 1846. Two men died as they were riding home near the village of Talsarn, as the river swept both horses and riders  away with the flow.

There are various stories about the damage caused along the rivers Aeron, Arth, Peris and Cledan: up to 70 bridges were damaged; 19 houses in Aberarth and Pennant; the chapels in Aberarth and Llanon, and Llansanffraid cemetery (near Llanon). They were swept into the sea and the remains were found as far away as Arfon in north Wales.

Aberarth residents tried to rebuild a bridge in the village following the first food. But, unbeknown to them, another wave was on its way and on the 2nd August, they were hit once more.

"It's very important to raise people's awareness about past flooding to encourage them think about the risks and to consider how they can prepare and protect themselves and their property from future flooding", added Dr Jones.

Dr Jones and her colleague Dr Sarah Davies from Aberystwyth University are both co-investigators on a successful bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) ‘Care for the Future’ emerging research theme.

The 3 year project, entitled ‘’Spaces of experience and horizons of expectation’: the implications of extreme weather events, past, present and future will use a combination of archival documentary sources and oral history approaches, the team will investigate how people have understood, been affected by and responded to weather extremes over the last three centuries across the UK.

Flash Floods in Wales: past and present, Monday,5th of Augustat12pm on the Aberystwyth University stand at the National Eisteddfod.


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Elinor Howells, Communications and Public Affairs, Aberystwyth University, 01970 628551/ 07807 077856 / elh45@aber.ac.uk