Ducks on the rhyne

Uphill may12 (4)A rhyne (pronounced ‘reen’) in Somerset is a ditch, or water course which has been dug as a drainage channel, and you find them all across the south-west of England and south Wales. I’d never come across the word until we moved to the west country in the 1960’s,even though we came from a similar sort of low-lying area with drainage ditches. We called them lodes, and there was a memorable campaign against them being modified with the slogan ‘Don’t ditch our lodes!’ The word ‘lode’ may have come from the Anglo-Saxon meaning to carry, but rhyne comes from Old English ‘ryne’ or Welsh ‘rhewyn’ meaning ditch.

This is the rhyne in Uphill, the Uphill great Rhyne, running past the coastguard cottages.

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