Ancient ford is closed after millions tuned in on TikTok to watch videos of cars floating away

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An ancient ford has been closed after millions of people tuned in on TikTok from around the world to watch videos of drivers’ cars floating away in the floods.

The masses were attracted off-screen as well, with hundreds coming to the small Rufford ford in Nottinghamshire to watch cars go through the river or even get stuck in it. 

Local councillor Neil Clarke lead the council’s decision to close the ford last month, after requests from fire and police services, who were unable to cope with the people coming to the now famous rural lane. 

Mr Clarke said about the closure in December: ‘We know that 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.

Ancient ford is closed after millions tuned in on TikTok to watch videos of cars floating away

An ancient ford has been closed after millions of people tuned in on TikTok from around the world to watch videos of drivers’ cars floating away in the floods

‘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.’

People would come to Nottinghamshire to have a go at driving through the ford and often get stuck there, requiring fire services to help them out of their predicament as well as police to ensure the safety of onlookers to the sides of the ford. 

Rufford ford cuts across Rainworth Water, a small river east of Mansfield. It is believed that it has been used, in various forms, for more than 1,000 years. 

When the weather is dry, the river crosses the road as a small trickle that is easily crossed. 

But after a lot of rain it becomes several feet deep and up to 30 feet (nine metres) wide, and the crossing hardly resembles a road. 

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This used to be a local concern, but ever since local teenager Ben Gregory uploaded compilation videos of people driving through the ford were posted on Youtube and later on TikTok, the crossing has gained international fame. 

The masses were attracted off-screen as well, with hundreds coming to the small Rufford ford in Nottinghamshire to watch cars go through the river or even get stuck in it

The masses were attracted off-screen as well, with hundreds coming to the small Rufford ford in Nottinghamshire to watch cars go through the river or even get stuck in it

Local councillor Neil Clarke lead the council's decision to close the ford last month, after requests from fire and police services, who were unable to cope with the people coming to the now famous rural lane

Local councillor Neil Clarke lead the council’s decision to close the ford last month, after requests from fire and police services, who were unable to cope with the people coming to the now famous rural lane

Mr Clarke said about the closure in December: 'We know that 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'

Mr Clarke said about the closure in December: ‘We know that 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’

While Ben quickly racked up more than 100,000 views in 2020, other Youtubers saw the potential, like 50-year-old midlifecrisis101x, who only wants to be referred to by his username. 

He told The Guardian: ‘They don’t want to seeing people winning. What they want to do is to watch idiots and go: ‘I’m having a really bad day but he’s having a worse one.”

Capturing a car failing can take hours of time, hundreds of crossings, until a Youtube-worty, schadenfreude-inducing person is found that drives through the ford splashing lots of water or swimming through. 

To spend so much time filming for a short clip isn’t necessarily a bad thing for midlifecrisis101x: ‘It is relaxing there – it’s like fishing.’ Instead of fish, the prey to be caught here are cars.

As for the motivation of those crossing the river out of curiosity, not necessity, he believes there is a deep ‘bloodlust’ on the part of drivers who want to drive a vehicle worth tens of thousands of pounds through a flooded ford.  

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The global interest in Rufford quickly became hard to manage, especially after the videos found popularity on TikTok, where algorithm-driven recommendations drove millions of new viewers to the ford content.

Midlifecrisis101x told The Guardian: ‘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.’ 

The councillor said: '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'

The councillor said: ‘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’

People would come to Nottinghamshire to have a go at driving through the ford and often get stuck there, requiring fire services to help them out of their predicament as well as police to ensure the safety of onlookers to the sides of the ford

People would come to Nottinghamshire to have a go at driving through the ford and often get stuck there, requiring fire services to help them out of their predicament as well as police to ensure the safety of onlookers to the sides of the ford

Rufford ford cuts across Rainworth Water, a small river east of Mansfield. When the weather is dry, the river crosses the road as a small trickle that is easily crossed. But after a lot of rain it becomes several feet deep and up to 30 feet (nine metres) wide, and the crossing hardly resembles a road

Rufford ford cuts across Rainworth Water, a small river east of Mansfield. When the weather is dry, the river crosses the road as a small trickle that is easily crossed. But after a lot of rain it becomes several feet deep and up to 30 feet (nine metres) wide, and the crossing hardly resembles a road

Mr Clarke told The Guardian the council had complaints saying they are spoiling 'everyone's fun' and added that people don't realise the danger and hazard the ford poses. 'Very quickly things like this can change to a tragedy,' he said

Mr Clarke told The Guardian the council had complaints saying they are spoiling ‘everyone’s fun’ and added that people don’t realise the danger and hazard the ford poses. ‘Very quickly things like this can change to a tragedy,’ he said

In one of the popular TikToks, the driver of a motorbike has an accident when driving through the ford, catapulting him off his bike

In one of the popular TikToks, the driver of a motorbike has an accident when driving through the ford, catapulting him off his bike

Large crowds flocked to the narrow, tree-lined country lane, bringin their families to spend a day cheering on drivers attempting the crossing. 

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Nottinghamshire police had to divert more officers to the area to manage numbers.  

After the closure, the council said it is due to an increase in incidents in the area.

Inspector Matthew Ward, District Commander for the area, said: ‘It is with regret that as a result […] a closure of Rufford Ford to all vehicle traffic will immediately come into effect on the grounds of safety.

‘Increasingly dangerous and irresponsible driving seen at the location which is putting vehicle occupants and viewing public at significant danger.’

Mr Clarke told The Guardian the council had complaints saying they are spoiling ‘everyone’s fun’ and added that people don’t realise the danger and hazard the ford poses. 

‘Very quickly things like this can change to a tragedy,’ he said. 

In one of the popular TikToks, the driver of a motorbike has an accident when driving through the ford, catapulting him off his bike.

For now, locals will have to wait while the council decides what to do with the accidentally famous road crossing. 

Clarke said a replacement bridge was out of the question due to the council’s budget, but traffic calming measures may come into place once the ford is reopened.

This used to be a local concern, but ever since local teenager Ben Gregory uploaded compilation videos of people driving through the ford were posted on Youtube and later on TikTok, the crossing has gained international fame

This used to be a local concern, but ever since local teenager Ben Gregory uploaded compilation videos of people driving through the ford were posted on Youtube and later on TikTok, the crossing has gained international fame

For now, locals will have to wait while the council decides what to do with the accidentally famous road crossing

For now, locals will have to wait while the council decides what to do with the accidentally famous road crossing

Clarke said a replacement bridge was out of the question due to the council's budget, but traffic calming measures may come into place once the ford is reopened

Clarke said a replacement bridge was out of the question due to the council’s budget, but traffic calming measures may come into place once the ford is reopened

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