Developing

Marooned but dry: The home protected from the ravages of flooding after owners built 6ft-high clay bank to protect it

Isolated Somerset home used to be hit by flooding so often couple kept boat tied up outside living room

This isolated rural home sits on its own marooned flood island - after the owner spent three years building a 6ft-high clay bank to protect it.

Suzette Billington lives 200 yards from the River Tone on the Somerset Levels, and regularly found herself submerged by 3ft of water every time flood water hit.

They arrived with such regularity every winter that Suzette kept a boat at the ready tied up outside the living-room window in Stoke St Gregory, near Taunton.

But, after years of bailing out the home, Suzette's husband Douglas Billington, who has now sadly died, encircled his two-acre garden with a clay floodbank - which was finished just in time for the floods of autumn 2000.

Now, 13 years on, the flood defences are still holding strong, and widowed Suzette has been left on dry land despite the persistent rain.

The home marooned on its own flood island in Somerset. (SWNS)
Submerged: How the Billingtons' home looked in the 1990s before they installed the clay bank. (SWNS)
Douglas Billington, who has since passed away, battling the floodwaters in the 1990s. (SWNS)
Douglas Billington built the 6ft clay bank just before the August 2000 floods. (SWNS)
Suzette and retired Royal Navy lieutenant Douglas bought what could be Britain's most flood-prone home in 1994.

They were attracted by the romance of the rural wilderness, which blooms into a colourful countryside paradise during summer months. Douglas began building the defences - the bulk of which is clay covered in top soil - in 1999.

MORE PICTURES OF THE DRAMATIC FLOODS AND STORM WHICH HAVE BATTERED BRITAIN:
The repair costs for Aberystwyth's promenade is not yet known but the damage will affect Wales's tourism industry. (London News Pictures/REX)
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Rex Features
Wed, Jan 8, 2014 11:00 GMT