Flood water came within 20 feet of the walls of historic Levens Hall this lunchtime.

“Sandbags were deployed and just at one point we were beginning to panic,” said gardener Chris Crowder. “Then luckily the water began to recede.”

The high tide caused the River Kent to break its banks and most of the car park at the hall was nearly waist-deep in water.

“Cars were quickly srcambled out of the way,” said Mr Crowder. “If you’d left your car in the car park, you’d have had it!”

Chris’s daughter, Emily, 21, used the flood as an opportunity to take a canoe trip in the car park.

The water receded after about an hour, leaving behind a muddy mess to clear up.