It's been ten years since towns and villages in west Cumbria were hit by some of the worst flooding ever seen.

Thousands of people had their lives turned upside down as a combination of torrential rain and swollen rivers devastated a wide area, from Keswick to Workington.

How the devastation occurred:

Rivers, streams and becks overflowed after record rainfall was recorded in the county. About a month's worth of rain fell in a matter of hours which led to a heavy deluge of water to run down the fells and into the river system.

The River Derwent flooded Keswick and the surrounding fields and villages, before moving downstream to Cockermouth where it met the River Cocker and flooded the town.

It then continued towards Workington, where Seaton and Barepot were severely hit.

  • Reporter Tim Backshall walked through the flood waters in Keswick a decade ago.

Whole communities were forced to pack up their most prized possessions and leave their homes, which were either at risk of being flooded or already underwater.

A man is rescued in Cockermouth in Cumbria after torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks. Credit: PA

The death of PC Bill Barker

On 20 November 2009, a police officer diedsaving the lives of members of the public by guiding them away from the crumbling Northside Bridge in Workington when it suddenly gave way beneath him.

The body of PC Barker was later found on a beach downstream.

Almost 24,000 people paid tribute to the officer, hailed a hero, on social media and hundreds of people attended his funeral.

Workington's new crossing was built by the Army and is named after Pc Barker.

PC Bill Barker Credit: PA


The floods caused about £300 million of damage in Cumbria alone.

Scores of communities both large and small across the west of the county were badly affected, with many unable to return to their flood-hit homes for several months.

The Environment Agency has since spent many millions of pounds on new flood defences. However, many experts believe it is inevitable there will be future flooding.

The memories

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