Long Marston and the surrounding area are criss-crossed with streams and drainage ditches, but despite these attempts at keeping the water levels under control, the village has suffered with flooding on many occasions.
In 1978 the village flooded at least 4 times, the water rising to a depth of 3 feet behind the houses in Marston Court, and reaching from the crossroads to Loxley Farm.
Twenty five years later, at the start of January 2003, some residents of Marston Court were unable to return to work after the Christmas break as their cars were surrounded by deep water.
Here is an eye witness account by one of the residents:
“On the afternoon of 1st January, we returned from the cinema to find a very large puddle had appeared behind our houses. This was quite puzzling, as we had not had any rain that day. The puddle continued to grow, until by the next morning the area at the back of our houses in Marston Court was under deep water from end to end and many people could not get to work. One or two people even took to the water in canoes and inflatable’s!
“By late morning the main village street was under water, and the shop flooded. Many villagers went to help Tina, the owner of the shop, with bailing out, and more helpers were at the Queen’s Head with buckets and brooms in a vain battle against the flood.
“The Fire Brigade arrived later in the day, to distribute sand bags and pump out any properties that had been badly affected.”
The next day the flood water had almost all receded, leaving a very soggy village behind.
As in 1978 the cause of the flood remained a mystery, and discussions between Dacorum Council, the Environmental Agency and British Waterways, did not reveal any answers. The brook which runs through the village was investigated and cleared as a precaution against this happening again.
If you have any stories about flooding in Long Marston, please let us know. We would be glad to add new information.
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Article written by Maggy Winship.