Marooned for Christmas: Holidaymakers rescued from cottage after being stranded for a week after Severn burst its banks

Yahoo! News UK

A group of holidaymakers have been rescued by boat from a water-locked cottage - after being marooned for more than a week.

The group had rented out The Ferryman's Cottage, which sits on the banks of the River Severn in Uckinghall, Glos., for the Christmas period.

They arrived at the 14-bed home in the afternoon of December 22, driving through six inches of water already on the ground.

But the water level suddenly began to rise and the Environment Agency closed a flood gate - shutting the cottage off from the rest of the village.

I was there... when a chicken surfed past my front door

The families were then left unable to leave the property as 7ft of water built up in the surrounding land.

They were only evacuated on Saturday, when Search and Rescue crews braved the deep waters in two boats and ferried the holidaymakers to safety.

Judy Gibson, chairman of the Uckinghall Flood Action Group said: "We had absolutely no idea that anyone was in that cottage.

"I spoke to the owner the day before the people were due to arrive and he was going to stop them from coming. Somehow the message did not get passed on.

I was there... trapped in my car with my young sons during flash floods

"They arrived in the afternoon of the 22nd and just hours later the Environment Agency shut the flood gate. The water rose and rose over the next two days.

"I only found out they were there on Boxing Day, when someone who lives next to the cottage but has two boats mentioned there were four cars outside.

"It was such a surprise and it was even more of a surprise when I saw there were children there too and a dog."

Judy estimated that there was six inches of water on the ground when the families arrived on the 22nd.

The group of eight adults and four children luckily ordered a Sainsbury's delivery for the festive period, which was able to drive through the water shortly after their arrival.

This meant they were stocked up for the duration.

Judy added: "I called the Environment Agency as soon as I found out that there were people there and they got in contact with them.

"Apparently they said they were perfectly happy inside and had enough supplies to last until their holiday ended on Saturday.

"They arranged to leave with the help of search and rescue crews, who arrived at 11.30am.

"They couldn't return to their cars though, they had to hire out a minibus to get home."

Uckinghall was given a flood gate in 2011, after the area was badly affected in the 2007 floods.

The gate blocks off three cottages - including The Ferryman's Cottage - which sit right by the banks of the River Severn, half a mile from the rest of the village.

Workers from the Environment Agency shut the gate - which is not expected to open for another ten days - at 6.30pm on December 22.

Judy added: "The house itself does not flood, but it does get completely surrounded by water.

"There was so much water, at least 7ft, around the house and they just would not have been able to leave at all.

"I would have thought they would have been desperate to leave but apparently not. It can't have been a very fun Christmas stuck inside though."

Uckinghall is a hamlet with around 60 houses, situated between Tewkesbury and Upton in Gloucestershire.

The West Midlands Search and Rescue Service confirmed that they had rescued 12 people and a dog who were stranded half a mile into a flood plain at Uckinghall.

Their incident log states that the evacuation was completed at 11.30am, with two boats.

The holidaymakers are believed to have returned home after leaving the village.

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