Video: Cumbrian farmer counts cost of flood devastation

A farmer in Cumbria has called for more powers to manage becks after his sheep were drowned and a holiday cottage was gutted in the floods.

Farmers Weekly reporter, Michael Priestley, spoke to Andrew Keiley on his farm in Patterdale.

Mr Keiley said 15 of his sheep were swept away and 500m of stone walls and fences were destroyed after Storm Desmond battered the farm on Saturday (5 December).

Boulders rained down on the valley from St Sunday Crag, forcing the sheep to find higher ground.

See also: ‘Double whammy’ leaves flood-hit Cumbrian farmers facing crisis

Previously, six weeks of constant rain had driven Mr Keiley to relocate much of his flock, meaning only 50 ewes and a tup were exposed to the torrent, with most of his most of his flock of 900 Swaledale sheep spared.

Mr Keiley said more sheep would have been killed if he had not taken the “sensible option” to move them to lower in-bye ground.

His Simmental cattle had a narrow escape, with floodwater reaching waist height in the cattle shed.

Holidaymakers were also lucky not to have been caught up in the floods after they vacated the farm just two hours before a foot of rainfall lashed the farm.

Mr Keiley said the costs were hard to calculate but the holiday home was worth £600 a week with high occupancy rates, which now requires gutting and restoration.

Watch the video of Mr Keiley assessing the damage on his farm.