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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A-Z Challenge 2018 - British Rivers: 'V' Valency

I studied chemistry at university and thought I had learnt a lot about valency.

I had never heard of the North Cornish village of Boscastle but like many I was shocked to see the TV news in August 2004.


Boscastle Harbour
This photo was taken in April 2004. In it you can see the steep sides of the Valency valley. The river itself is very short - c.5 miles. It has many tributaries, including a very short River Jordan (not one of those in my 'J' post) which joins the Valency just above Bocastle.

In its wooded stretches the Valency looks very mild.

River Valency at New Mills

After several days of heavy rain in August 2004 and 24 hours in which a month's rain came down, the Valency turned into a raging torrent which caused extensive structural damage in Boscastle. Cars were washed away and people trapped in their houses until rescued by helicopters.


The harbour was protected by two stone walls erected by Sir Richard Grenville in 1584. I assume that these are those in the first photo above.

Protected from the Atlantic Ocean by these walls, Boscastle harbour was unprotected from what became the raging Valency.

There are a number of videos on YouTube which show the Boscastle floods if you wish to get an idea about how bad the conditions were.

Photo attributions:
  • Boscastle Harbour: 14 April 2004 by JUweL - CC BY-SA 3.0 Licence
  • River Valency at New Mills: 18 May 2007 by Jan Coupland ex geography.org.uk - CC BY-SA 2.0 Licence

5 comments:

Bill Nicholls said...

I have been there and remember the flooding but never knew the name of the river

Wendy said...

I'm not sure I understand how those walls protected the area except that maybe invading ships would crash into them. However, I can understand how that valley could hold a lot of water from a raging river.

Kristin said...

That sounds terrible. I guess that is a problem with water, it can turn dangerous given the right conditions. Or the wrong condidions.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - I had forgotten the river was called Valency ... and that flood was appalling wasn't it - a set of unusual circumstances for the tiny harbour village - cheers Hilary

Jo said...

I remember hearing about those dreadful floods in Boscastle. Grenville was very active in the Civil war as I recall.

I also remember similar really bad floods in Devon I think. Years ago when I still lived in the UK.