The Bourne Gutter is back – but does this ‘woe water’ mean catastrophe lies ahead?

The Bourne Gutter 2014.
The Bourne Gutter 2014.

A rarely-sighted stream has re-emerged for the second time in two years – and folklore suggests this is a very bad omen.

The Bourne Gutter, a tributary of the River Bulbourne, has been spotted trickling across the fields of the Bourne Valley, near the McDonald’s on the A41.

The Bourne Gutter 2014.

The Bourne Gutter 2014.

The stream is known to some who live nearby as ‘woe water’ because its appearance is believed to come before a major tragedy or war.

It also appeared in March last year, but before that the last time it flowed at its full three-mile length was between November 2000 and May 2001.

Just a few months later the Twin Towers disaster killed 2,996 people and wounded more than 6,000.

The catastrophe led to America’s War on Terror and the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by multiple countries.

The Bourne Gutter 2014.

The Bourne Gutter 2014.

The Bourne Gutter is presently flowing as an after-effect of the very heavy rainfall experienced nationwide.

Freelance Gazette photographer David Satchel has been capturing images of Dacorum for several decades, and said the Bourne Gutter hardly ever appears.

He said: “The Bourne Gutter doesn’t have a riverbed as such and flows over the grass, resembling a lawn after someone has emptied a paddling pool over it.”

He said the stream has been known to appear during dry spells when water authorities are imposing hosepipe bans.

The Hertfordshire Natural History Society kept in-depth records of the flow of the stream for 40 years from the late 1800s.

They recorded that it flowed for two or three miles in 1879, 1883, 1897 and 1904 – but its length has generally been much shorter in recent decades.

Mr Satchel has traced and photographed the source of the stream, where it comes bubbling out of the ground near Whelpley Hill, not far from Bovingdon.