We’ve been flooded – again

9 Dec

Wordsworth House 5 Dec flood by Cath Tyrrell

On Saturday, 5 December, the rivers Cocker and Derwent, which flow through Cockermouth, burst their banks and flooded the town centre, including Wordsworth House and Garden.

By Monday morning, most of the water – which had been up to five-feet deep – was gone, leaving behind a sea of mud and silt.

As in 2009, the last time Cockermouth was badly flooded, the house itself was largely unscathed. However, our shop, reception area and cellars were inundated, and we have a great deal of cleaning up, drying out and refitting to do.

My beautiful heritage garden, where William learned his love of nature, has been particularly badly hit.

Gardener Amanda told me the damage looks to be worse than in 2009, even though the water level was lower.

She said: “Although, this time, it didn’t bring down any walls or the terrace where William and his sister Dorothy loved to play, we’re expecting to lose more of our heritage plants.

“This is because the mud left behind is much thicker than it was six years ago, meaning many more plants are likely to die from suffocation. We’re also expecting a lot more rain, which will stress them further when they’re vulnerable.”

Wordsworth House garden 6

Amanda added: “As in 2009, our insurance won’t cover the loss of our heritage plants, so we’ll face a substantial bill for replanting. It’ll be a while before we know just how much this will be, as we can’t begin the process of trying to save them until a cleaning company has been in to hose down the paths and shed to remove contamination and make it safe for the staff and volunteer team to work.

“There will be a delay before this can happen, as the professional cleaners’ priority obviously has to be sanitising the many homes that have been flooded, so the people who’ve been affected can start their own clean-up operations.”

Despite the hard work ahead, we aim to reopen for 2016 as planned on 12 March.

In the meantime, we’ve had offers of help and donations from as far away as China. If you’d like to help us by donating towards the cost of replacement plants, please email Ross.mackintosh@nationaltrust.org.uk

Thank you – we look forward to welcoming you to a restored Wordsworth House and Garden in 2016.


6 Responses to “We’ve been flooded – again”

  1. Bill Paul December 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    So sorry, Fletch. Hopefully you personally weren’t too challenged with the flood? You didn’t wake up in the morning to find yourself floating downstream to Workington? I really do feel for you and the team at WHG, and clearly remember the last time. WHG was my first volunteering experience with the National Trust, and it will always be a very special place for me. I wish I was a bit nearer to help you out again, but sadly north Yorkshire is a bit far to come!

    • Fletch the perchcrow December 9, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Lovely to hear from you, Bill. I was resting in my winter home (aka Amanda’s shed) when the deluge hit, so although I got a little damp, I’m otherwise unharmed.

  2. Bill Paul December 10, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    I don’t know whether this will work, but here are a few comments from the NT Volunteers facebook page. (IF it doesn’t work, sorry!) https://fletchtheperchcrow.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/weve-been-flooded-again/

    • Fletch the perchcrow December 10, 2015 at 10:29 am #

      Morning Bill! Unfortunately, it’s a closed Facebook group so I can’t read the comments. Could you copy and paste or paraphrase?

  3. Bill Paul December 11, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Bill Paul

    Bill Paul So sad. I was a volunteer at Wordsworth House in 2009 when the last flood hit, knocking out the historic ‘Terrace Walk’, and trashing two 18th cent. brick walls. Now it’s been hit again. I’m volunteering at Fountains Abbey now, so can’t help with the clean-up, but it’s sure to take a long time.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:48 · Edited


    Peter Dean

    Peter Dean Awful for you. Was only there in the summer and admiring how you volunteers were caring for this house. I volunteer at Dunster castle. If you were closer I’d come and help.

    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 9 December at 11:57

    Ursula Myers

    Ursula Myers So sad to see.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:04

    Brian Boyland

    Brian Boyland Very sad.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:13

    Tricia Lockhart

    Tricia Lockhart I can’t imagine how depressing this must be and how you all need to muster energy to deal with it alongside dealing with damages to your own and neighbours’ living accommodation. If my good wishes can help, you have them!

    Unlike · Reply · 2 · 9 December at 12:13

    Lynne Stevenson

    Lynne Stevenson Thoughts to you all there from the Midlands!

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:22

    Caroline Harris

    Caroline Harris How awful…but I know that volunteer spirit will prevail! My very best wishes.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:24

    Martin Mather

    Martin Mather So sad, our thoughts are with you all from down here in Exeter ….

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 12:40

    Ann Hughes

    Ann Hughes All the very best with the clean up. Visited there this Spring, a lovely property. Sorry but I live and volunteer in Lincolnshire so unable to help.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 14:03

    Miranda Spatchurst

    Miranda Spatchurst Commiserations. Hope it can be reinstated without too many difficulties.

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 14:18

    Hilary Drain

    Hilary Drain So sad I hope there isn’t too much damage, ie that some precautions were taken after last time

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 14:24

    .Andrea Mary Powell

    Andrea Mary Powell So sorry to hear. Such a terrible thing to happen. Hoping you receive all the help and support needed. X

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 14:43

    Alison Bamonte

    Alison Bamonte Thinking of you

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 15:27

    Ian Hextall

    Ian Hextall so sad

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 18:45

    Angela Roberts

    Angela Roberts So sad this has happened again. Thinking of all the volunteers who I know will get it cleaned up.

    Like · Reply · 1 · 9 December at 19:26

    Michael O’Sullivan

    Michael O’Sullivan Take Care – When you need Vols – please do let us all know

    Like · Reply · 9 December at 20:08

    Ian Hextall

    Ian Hextall what a fantastic idea Michael using this group to source additional volunteers – now that’s something Heelis will be stealing…. and rightly so

    Like · Reply · 2 · 9 December at 20:38 · Edited

    Mandy Winckworth

    Mandy Winckworth So sorry to hear the garden has been devastated once again. I’m in Cheshire so not close, but if you’re desperate for vols in the new year, please shout.

    Like · Reply · Yesterday at 07:36

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    Bill Paul

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