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Bude Flood Risk Profile


Bude has a canal, a river and many smaller watercourses.  These are near to the built up areas and many of the streams are culverted.

Bude has two principal beaches: Summerleaze and Crooklets. Both are sensitive to coastal processes and sand dune development. Shoreline management and adaptation may be challenging. But they are essential for achieving a sustainable coastline for Bude.

Rivers and catchments

The confluence of the Rivers Strat and Neet is near Helebridge, upstream of Bude. There is some confusion over the name of the river running from this confluence to the river mouth at Summerleaze Beach in Bude. Some documents refer to it as the River Strat.  Some older maps show it as the River Bude.  The Ordinance Survey has referred to it as the “Strat or Neet”. The Environment Agency refers to it as the River Neet.  It does provide a larger hydrological catchment area than the River Strat. Though historically it was most likely referred to as the River Strat.

Key rivers and streams in the area include:

  • Maer Down Stream
  • Crooklets Stream
  • Golf Course Stream
  • Bude Canal
  • Berries Avenue Stream
  • River Strat
  • River Neet

Risk of flooding from rivers and tides

155 properties are within Fluvial Flood Zone 3 (high risk) in Bude.  There are a further 43 in Stratton and 298 in Flexbury.  This makes a total of 496 properties at risk.

Of the 496 properties at risk, 450 properties are residential. An additional 35 properties being classed as commercial. 

In Bude itself 101 properties are in Tidal Flood Zone 3.  This is made up of 50 Residential, 38 Commercial and 13 others.

Risk of flooding from surface water

Around 630 properties are potentially at risk from surface water flooding in Bude, Stratton and Flexbury.  Of these around 573 are residential properties and 38 commercial;

You can view maps relating to the area via the following links:

Flood risk management in Bude

There are a number of existing flood defences in Bude and the surrounding area from both fluvial and tidal flooding.

A flood alleviation scheme exists to protect Bude from the River Neet.  This includes:

  • An automatic lifting/lowering weir at the downstream extent of the Neet to allow increased flow capacity
  • Flood walls and a deepened channel through the town with storage areas and flood banks at Petherick’s Mill

Upstream of Bude, there are flood banks around properties at Helebridge.  As well as a combination of flood banks and walls at Stratton.  Sluicing controls the flows in the River Neet.  This is automatic and monitored by the Environment Agency.

Parts of the Bude area are classed as a Critical Drainage Area. This includes the whole of Flexbury, the west part of Stratton and Bude; north, east and south-east.  Any development which occurs in a Critical Drainage Area requires a reduction in flood risk (betterment). This is above and beyond a neutral impact.

Coastal Considerations

The wide, linear sandy beaches of Bude Bay extend some 4km for the extent of this section of coastline.  Small headlands are formed from sections of the more resistant sandstone cliffs.  Cliffs along the shoreline reach 110m OD at Bude.

Beach Dune Management Plan was developed for Summerleaze in 2016.

Bude sits in The Shoreline Management Plan’s Project Development Zone 16 under Management Area 40. There are 4 Policy Units in this area. This recommends Hold the Line at the Bude Haven and Canal area.  As well as Managed Realignment for Summerleaze and Crooklets to sustain the coastline.

Main challenges for local flood risk management in Bude

  • Rivers in this area are of a high gradien
  • t and are vulnerable to flash flooding caused by intensive rainfall and runoff.  This may li
    mit the potential for attenuating water at time of flood risk in these catchments.  Large volumes of sediment may be entrained during high flow events.
  • Tourism levels are likely to increase.  This may have adverse effects on the watercourses.  As well as increased wear and erosion from visitor traffic.
  • A changing climate will increase the risk erosion and tidal flooding as sea levels rise and more storms are experienced. The shoreline needs to be actively managed to realign to a sustainable but dynamic position in response to sea level rise.

Opportunities for flood risk management in Bude

  • Implement retrospective Sustainable Drainage Systems in Bude and Flexbury.
  • Remove flood banks in Bude Marshes.
  • Improve river continuity by removing obstructions on the River Neet and River Strat.
  • Extend wetland habitats in the upper reaches of the catchments to aid attenuation.
  • Implement the epoch changes outlined in the Shoreline Management Plan.  This will create a sustainable costal community.

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