SUMMER – and the promise of a busy tourist season – are on their way and the picturesque Powys village of Crickhowell is attempting to look to the future.

This year has again seen the village hit by winter flooding. For some local businesses, it is a way of life, but Storm Dennis in February 2020 – followed by Covid lockdown – tested their resilience to the utmost.

The Bridge End Inn and the Vine Tree, located either end of the bridge which crosses over the River Usk, were severely devastated by Storm Dennis in February 2020, just weeks before the country went into Covid lockdown as a result of Covid-19.

For Howard Baker, landlord of the Bridge End Inn, it was the fourth flood in the last 18 months. Refurbishment after Storm Dennis cost £400,000 and took nearly a year to complete – only for the pub to be hit again in February this year, once again devastating the ground floor.

During his 22 years in the pub, Mr Baker has been flooded 34 times, but he counts Storm Dennis as the worst. As he recovers from the latest damage, he is looking forward to hopefully opening soon.

The Vine Tree at the other side of the bridge has also been hit hard. Restaurant owner Val Constantinescu, who had not long taken over the business, was heartbroken after Storm Dennis. He had put everything into the business and to be hit by the pandemic as well was devastating.

Work to restore the restaurant after Storm Dennis took about six months, costing over £40,000. It’s been a really tough last 14 months for but the Vine Tree but it has carried on providing takeaway meals and staff have been retained.

Paul Morgan, of Riverside Auto Services, is philosophical: “I have lived here for 36 years. I’ve lost count how many times I have been flooded, it’s become a way of life but Storm Dennis last year was the worst I have ever seen.”