At the time of writing, early-February, Chalgrave parish has numerous flooding issues. There is standing water in the fields – and on the Chalgrave golf course – the ditches are full to overflowing in some places, Parkview Lane has been engulfed for over a month and there are seasonal concerns that large puddles on our roads will become icy hazards.
Considering that Chalgrave parish is on a hill – the parish church stands 465 feet above sea level – the extent of the flooding is surprising. While the underlying geology is sedimentary rock – compressed layers of chalk, limestone and sandstone – most of Chalgrave is described as decalcified boulder clay, which is poorly drained. This is according to the Chalgrave Parish Survey 1986, which can be found at: https://www.chalgravepc.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2015/01/Chalgrave-Survey-1986.pdf
However, if enough rain falls within a short interval, flooding will occur at any altitude. Bedfordshire, and the East of England in general, has experienced heavy rainfall in December and January. The Met Office reports that, for the 3 months to January, rainfall is 39 per cent above the long-term average (LTA) and for the 6 months to January, it is 50 per cent above LTA. While less rain has fallen in East of England than in any other English region – check out the North-West and South-West – the East is further above its typical rainfall than the other regions. Residents of long standing have confirmed that this is one of the worst flooding experiences in the parish in the past 40 years.