The Buddon Brook flows through the village where I grew up. It begins to the South West of the village, as runoff from the Swithland Reservoir. Under Meeting Street, the Buddon Brook joins the Poultney and the two flow under the main road, through a bridge by the Quorn cross.
The Buddon was originally used as a power source for the Wright’s Mills, which still exist — though they are no longer water-powered, and some of the old buildings have been redeveloped as new flats.
Where the road crossed the Buddon, the bridge has circular cutouts as spillovers for floodwater. The river dives underground, ducking the new development and emerging beyond, hugging the side of the Stafford Orchard and tracing the path of the back wall of the mill. Under School Lane and into the River Soar, inside the grounds of the Quorn Country Hotel, the Buddon also feeds into the Grand Union Canal (or is it a river here?) at Barrow On Soar.
Locating the confluence of the Buddon and Soar feels like an exercise in suburban infiltration. Down Leicester Road, left through the gates of the hotel, scurry though the car park with your collar up and your hat drawn low. Go at dusk. Over the flood dyke and around the deserted benches, into a previously-mysterious land on the wrong side of the river.
On Soar Lane, a small triangle of grass beyond the flood wall is locally known as the ‘only common land in the village’ although the truthfulness of this is not clear. Quorn sits in the flood plain of the Soar Valley and until defences were built in the 1980s, the village regularly flooded. When the waters were particularly high it was said to be possible to travel the mile or so to Barrow by boat, without straying too close to the river proper. However on occasion the waters still rise enough to flood the village. I remember walking to school and finding a canal narrowboat wedged vertically against the bridge at Barrow. Years later, I once had to wade through flood waters to get to the pub by the crossroads in Quorn, though inside it was business as usual.
Living in a flood-prone area seems almost normal when growning up, until — now older and with some perspective — you take a step back, realising the bigger picture. Some photos of the floods in 2007 can be found here, and an archive of record photographs and news clippings here.