Drip, drip, hooray for the great British summer

If you think the weather is bad, spare a thought for the soggy residents of the Elms Caravan and Camping Park in Epping Forest. The torrents of the past 48 hours proved too much for some tent-dwellers, and for the campsite's owner, Terry Farr, the downpours were another setback in a grim season.

Heavy rain began pouring down at 4.30am yesterday and continued for two hours. "I heard the wind wake everybody up so I went down to the campsite to check on the tents," said Mr Farr, 64. "Everybody was fine but there was a Dutch bloke whose tent had collapsed in the rain. Poor lad, he went home this morning."

The English summer, which had until now been sticky and humid, took a turn for the worse, as a fast-moving rain-sodden front moved in from the south and drenched everything in its path.

In Devon and Cornwall, more than 25mm of rain fell in a couple of hours, while in Northern Ireland, 50mm came down, the equivalent of half the month's average rainfall – unseasonal even by the standards of British summers.

To Mr Farr, who has run his picturesque campsite in the heart of Epping Forest, Essex, for the past seven years, the skies' unpredictability causes him to contemplate abolishing his tents altogether. "At this time of year we should be chock-full, but look at it. The motor homes and caravans are doing all right but bookings for tents are virtually non-existent."

On the gently sloping field in front of him a motley collection of damp fabric homes billowed in the wind – hardly a full house.

By late afternoon yesterday the Environment Agency had issued nine flood warnings following forecasters' predictions of further rain to come, evoking memories of last summer's floods which left thousands without a home for months.

In Northern Ireland yesterday three teenagers were rescued from the Mourne Mountains when their campsite became flooded. On the way back off the mountain they were pinned down by a swollen river and had to call for assistance.

Ed Kilgore, chairman of Mourne Rescue Service, said: "When they tried to make their way back down the way they had gone up, they were blocked by a river that was so badly swollen they could not get across. If they had decided to try and get across the river it could have been nasty."

In Looe, Cornwall, a driver had a lucky escape when a mudslide engulfed his van yesterday morning. Lee Provost, 29, a builder, saw a passer-by leap for his life to escape an avalanche of earth moments before it crushed his Volkswagen van. "It's unbelievable," he said. "I suppose I will have to get a new van."

Forecasters said that the unseasonable weather was expected to continue over the next few days although the downpours should be less heavy than in the past 48 hours. The Met Office said the current wet weather was caused by a low pressure system moving uncharacteristically quickly northwards, an unusual meteorological phenomenon for this time of year.

A mixture of rain and sunshine is expected today with more prolonged wet weather over the weekend.

All par for the course for the Cooper family, who had driven 250 miles from Cumbria to The Elms campsite, with a sizeable collection of soft toys in the back window, to spend nine days in a tent.

"At least it's not raining now," says 11-year-old Beth, the youngest of the Coopers' three daughters. "In the Isle of Wight and Cornwall it was really wet," says her father, David, who takes his family camping at least twice a year: "Oh, we're used to it. We have an electrical hook-up. It means we have light, heat and a fresh bottle of milk in the morning, which makes camping a lot more comfortable."

Four-day forecast

Today

Heavy rainfall expected throughout most of the country. Those in the west of Scotland and on the southern coast will see the worst of the weather.

Tomorrow

Rain will continue in the south, but it is expected to be slightly drier in the north of England and Scotland. The Midlands is expected to escape the rain too.

Friday

Similar to Thursday, but wetter again in Scotland.

Saturday

Heavy rain and wind is again expected in the south of England.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border