For years, Rufford Ford in Nottinghamshire has been a popular spot for drivers to splash through its waters, drawing crowds of onlookers and becoming a social media sensation. However, the local council is now considering permanently closing the ford due to safety concerns.
The ford, which has existed for centuries, became particularly famous after videos of vehicles attempting to cross it were shared on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. Despite its popularity, the ford was temporarily closed in December 2022 after a motorcyclist was filmed speeding into the water and injuring himself.
The council is now exploring long-term solutions, including building a bridge, improving signage, or installing traffic calming measures. However, their preferred option is to permanently close the ford to vehicles. Councillor Neil Clarke stated that public safety is their top priority and that despite considering other options, closure seemed the best way to ensure safety.
However, some argue that the risks associated with the ford are exaggerated. YouTuber Midlifecrisis101x, who began filming at the ford in late 2021, claimed that the water was typically shallow and that it was rare for a vehicle to get stuck.
The council has no data on how many vehicles have been damaged or stuck in the ford. The only known injury at the site was the aforementioned motorcyclist. The council is set to begin a public consultation on the long-term options for the ford, with many comments on their Facebook page expressing disappointment at the potential closure.
Residents of nearby Ollerton have also raised concerns about increased traffic on their narrow road due to the ford’s closure. Steve Long, chair of Ollerton Village Residents’ Association, has written to the council about this issue.
Will Laughton, owner of nearby Rufford Park Golf and Country Club, suggested dredging the river to prevent frequent flooding as a more cost-effective solution than those proposed by the council. He noted that the closure of the ford has negatively impacted his business due to the required detour for golfers.
Despite the controversy, the motorcyclist whose accident triggered the ford’s closure believes that while a full closure may not be necessary, some action should be taken to improve safety.