An ancient ford has been shut to motorists after videos of cars being stranded in the waters went viral on TikTok.
Clips of vehicles struggling to cross Rufford Ford have racked up millions of views on the social media platform. However it has sparked safety concerns among the local authorities.
Nottinghamshire County Council closed access to the ford at end of 2022. Here is all you need to know:
What is the TikTok trend?
The Guardian reports that residents have had concerns for years about cars struggling to cross the ford after heavy rain, causing the water levels to rise and leave vehicles stranded. However in 2020, a local teenager started uploading videos of cars stranded in Rufford Ford to YouTube.
The ford began to gain global interest, with the videos spreading to TikTok and attracted even more attention to the area as millions watched videos of cars stranded in the water.
A YouTuber, with the account name midlifecrisis101x, told the Guardian: “It’s wanton stupidity. You’ve got a perfectly good motor vehicle and a sign that says road closed. Why are you going to put your car in that?
“TikTok attracts a more excitable audience who want instant entertainment, they want 15 to 20 seconds of high-adrenaline consumption. The high-energy people came to Rufford ford. It was originally fishing for cars, and then TikTok brought more energy – and not in a good way.”
Where is Rufford Ford?
The historic river crossing is located in Rufford, Nottinghamshire. It dates hundreds of years, with Cistercian monks setting up an abbey in the area.
It has become popular with “locals and those from further afield”, with motorists filming themselves driving into the ford.
Why has the ford been shut?
Our sister title Chad.co.uk reported in December last year that Rufford Ford had been closed to all motorists by Nottinghamshire County Council. The decision was in conjunction with Via East Midlands, its highways contractor, and Nottinghamshire Police to look at measures to improve safety in the area.
The closure will remain in place while the council and its partners work on a longer term solution to the problem. Neil Clarke, council cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “Road safety remains a high priority for the council and it is because of this that we, along with our partners, will be putting this closure in place immediately.
“We know Rufford Ford has become popular with locals and those from further afield, but we cannot stress enough that dangerous driving in this area cannot continue because it puts the safety of motorists and pedestrians at risk.
“Work has been ongoing for some time to discuss safety measures at Rufford Ford and a feasibility study for traffic-calming measures has been carried out. There is already a significant amount of road safety signage around the ford which has been in place for some time to keep all road users safe.
“However, due to the increase in incidents at Rufford Ford, we feel the safest solution is to put a temporary Traffic Regulation Order in place while longer-term solutions can be developed further. The closure has been put in place with immediate effect and will be in place 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the foreseeable future.”
Insp Matthew Ward, Nottinghamshire Police’s Newark & Sherwood district commander, added: “It is with regret that a closure of Rufford Ford to all vehicle traffic will immediately come into effect on the grounds of safety.
“We appreciate Rufford Ford is an integral part of the estate. However increasingly dangerous and irresponsible driving seen at the location which is putting vehicle occupants and viewing public at significant danger. This decision has been made to safeguard and prevent harm to both highway users and pedestrians.”