The River Stour rises at Stourhead near the Wiltshire border and then flows
south eastwards for about 90km.
The drainage basin of the River Stour lies mainly within Dorset. It covers
an area of about 1300 km2. The drainage basin is mainly rural and the land
use is largely farming. In its lower course the river flows through a more
urban landscape until it reaches the sea at Christchurch.
Blandford Forum is a small town on the north bank of the River Stour about
25km to the north west of Bournemouth. The town, with a population of approximately
9000 people is famous for its brewery (Hall and Woodhouse) and its Georgian
The valley of the Stour narrows at Blandford which makes the town vulnerable
In 1979 there were two significant floods, the first in May flooded
around 30 properties, while the second in December flooded 110
properties. The river flowed from the water meadows, over West
Street and into the Market Place, flooding the main hotel and
several shops. Under particularly severe conditions some 180 properties
in Blandford were at risk.
Aerial Photograph of Blandford
As a result of the flood risk the Blandford flood alleviation
scheme was designed to protect Blandford against the 1 in 200 year flood.
Click on Dorset for a map of the catchment area