HEAVY rainfall has led to the cancellation of the Chatsworth International Horse Trials as downpours caused flash flooding in parts of the region yesterday.
Firefighters in North Yorkshire said incidents there had included the rescuing sheep and lambs left stranded by rising water from a flooded river in the Yorkshire Dales.
Crews also pumped out flooded properties around Skipton and Harrogate.
Several people reported of flash flooding in Summerbridge, near Harrogate. One resident said water had poured on to the High Street, bringing debris from surrounding hills into the village centre, but it had since subsided. Another said on Twitter: “Just been to the shop in Summerbridge. Never seen flooding like it – the high street is a river and cricket ground is two foot under water.”
Earlier, firefighters had saved 350 sheep cut off by the rising River Ure, between Leyburn and Middleham. The crews used ladders and “inflatable walkways” to reach the animals that were then safely transported by trailer to dry land.
Last night, three of the four Environment Agency flood warnings in force across England and Wales were for rivers in North Yorkshire.
Two were on the River Nidd in the Knaresborough area and the third was on the River Ure in the Ripon and Boroughbridge area.
Meteorologists said the flash flooding was likely to have been caused by a narrow band of exceptionally heavy showers that crossed North Yorkshire yesterday afternoon.
The decision to cancel the Chatsworth trials will come as a blow to Great Britain’s Olympic eventing hopefuls and other competitors, including the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, who were due to take part in the event this weekend.
Wet weather also led to the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials being called off last week but officials at Bramham are confident their event will go ahead next month.
Chatsworth Horse Trials director Tissie Reason said: “We appreciate visitors who were planning to attend the event will be deeply disappointed, but I am sure they will understand why this decision was taken.”
It was also revealed yesterday that record-breaking levels of rainfall have replenished Yorkshire Water’s borehole stocks, which are now at normal levels – having been 20 per cent down just 10 weeks ago.