River levels which led to flooding in Braunton highest in 60 years
RIVER levels at Velator in the lead up to Christmas were the highest in 60 years, according to a local boat owner.
John Ring, 74, of Elizabeth Drive in Barnstaple, said he had not seen six feet of water coming down Velator since the days of the Lynmouth flood disaster.
Shops and businesses in Caen Street, Braunton, bore the brunt of the deluge just before Christmas which saw extensive flooding, as deep as four feet in places.
But Mr Ring believes it could have been a lot worse.
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He said: "If the Environment Agency had not carried out some defence work above the library and the Memorial Gardens, it would certainly have created more damage in Braunton."
Mr Ring started boating as a boy at Velator back in 1950.
He said: "I would say the amount of water that came through on the Saturday and Sunday before Christmas was in excess of what it was like back in 1952.
"My yacht draws four feet and it was afloat in fresh water, hanging on the mooring like a speed boat.
"Nobody could get out to their boat because the volume of water was so great.
"We have seen some huge trees come down the River Caen and The Pill, some as big as a bus.
He said the bed of the river had been churned up like a ploughed field. "Tonnes of gravel has been moved," he said.
"We have ended up with big pits in the river.
"If this weather pattern is the form of things to come they need to do a lot of work to prevent it happening again."