Mystery over why village in Devon is rising by 2cm every year


Despite the drastic situation, experts have no idea why, other than that the cause is ‘deep underground’, and have described the problem as ‘weird’. (Picture: SWNS)

A little village is rising by at least 2cm every year – and nobody has any idea why.

Willand in Devon, which sits just off the M5, has streets lined with thatched roof houses, one pub, a village hall and a football club.

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But now the village is the cause of a fair bit of head-scratching in the geological world, as a one mile wide area is rising every year.

Despite the drastic situation, experts have no idea why, other than that the cause is ‘deep underground’, and have described the problem as ‘weird’.

Dr Andy Sowater told the BBC: ‘Probably the weirdest example we’ve come across is the 2cm per year uplift at a place called Willand in Devon.

Concerned resident Mark Thorogood in the village of Willand (Picture: SWNS)
The village is the cause of much head-scratching in the geological world, as a 2km wide area is rising by 2cm every year (Picture: SWNS)
Despite the drastic situation experts have no idea why, other than that the cause is ‘deep underground’, and have described the problem as ‘weird’ (Picture: SWNS)

‘It’s a small place on the M5 motorway.

‘We’ve spoken to the Environment Agency and the British Geological Survey, and right now we can’t explain it. We don’t know why it’s going up.’

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The situation was noticed after a new map was created which monitors land surface across the UK.

It was created from more than 2,000 radar images acquired by the European Union’s Sentinel-1 satellites.

The map reveals areas of subsidence and uplift, some of which, like those above old mine workings, could be hazardous.

The situation was noticed after a new map was created which monitors land surface across the UK. (Picture: SWNS)
The map reveals areas of subsidence and uplift, some of which, like those above old mine workings, could be hazardous. (Picture: SWNS)

But Willand remains a mystery that even the boffins behind the map don’t understand.

Geomatic Ventures Limited, a company which grew out of the University of Nottingham, says the cause of the Willand Uplift is ‘unknown’.

A spokesperson said: ‘This almost 2km-wide area of significant uplift has been detected by this survey, and in several independent satellite acquisitions.

‘It affects a section of the M5 and also a major railway line.

‘Although we have yet to identify the cause, the fact that vegetated and urban classes are rising in unison suggests it lies deep underground.’



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