Villagers woke up on Monday morning to find floodwater rushing through the car park at St Robert’s Church, inching ever closer to nearby homes.
A tunnel taking Clark Beck under a section of the car park had become blocked with branches and debris, causing the water to take a different and more destructive path to Crimple Beck.
But what exactly was it that created the blockage in the first place? - Of all things, a railway sleeper, tree branches, rubble, and a football, according to Harrogate Borough Council workers who have cleared the obstruction.
The council has also asked engineers to recommend measures that could reduce the risk of flooding in the future.
The Pannal residents whose homes were in danger of flooding, thanked their neighbours and the emergency services for saving the day.
Louisa Humpage said: “Our main concern is if it happens again. We woke up on Monday to a river running directly behind our house which was very worrying - the water was headed straight for us.
“St Robert’s was also at risk of flooding. If my husband hadn’t acted so quickly by piling bags of soil, cement, anything we had to hand behind ours and our neighbours fence, the water would have come into the garden and then our homes.
“It was obviously a concerning time, but it became a team effort between my family, a neighbour, the fire service, and the council, and we were eventually able to ensure that our house and our neighbours homes remained safe and dry.
“There has also been discussions with the council about building a more permanent flood defence near our homes to prevent any water coming in should the beck overflow again.”
The flooding also prompted discussions about the impact of proposed housing developments in Pannal.
Louisa said: “This has all happened at a time when we are protesting plans to build more housing in the fields next to us, and further up the beck at Spring Lane. The extra pressure that more housing will put on the local environment is surely going to have a negative impact on the beck, meaning we could be in more danger of flooding if they get approval to go ahead.”
Steve Scarre was helping residents on the morning. He said: “It was exceptionally bad first thing this morning, if this had happened during the night, the houses on the corner looking onto the church would have been flooded.
“But the local community has come together and we managed to put a bit of a dam up to divert the water from the houses. The fire and rescue people have been absolutely fantastic - they’ve got the spades out, they’ve helped us to clear what we can clear, and they’ve helped us with the sandbags.”
Christina Wilby said: “There is a constant worry for Pannal residents about flooding, especially around the church area and along Crimple Beck.”
St Robert’s Church vicar, the Rev John Smith, said: “It’s been a great community spirit here, people really pulling together. It’s been a bit of a balancing act to try and make sure we help each other out to the best we absolutely can.”
Pupils from Pannal Primary School were taken down class by class to see the emergency services in action.
A Harrogate Borough Council spokesperson said: “With 100 sandbags, the hard work of our staff, support from residents and the pumping expertise of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, we’ve managed to keep floodwater away from homes in Pannal."