Yarm was well located to control the trading routes within the area but when Yarm was a port there was little that could be done to control the river itself.
The low banks, so useful for docking ships, were at the same time susceptible to flooding.
Many floods happened over the years. The night of Nov 16th, 1771, was particularly bad. More than 24 hours of heavy rain was rushing into the River Tees from all directions and the whole of Yarm was soon underwater, rising to 20 feet deep on parts of the High Street.
Since 1992, Yarm has been protected by a wall and 34 flood gates that give access to the riverside.
The river still breached the defences in 2000, so the wall height was increased by another 6 layers of bricks in 2002.
Since then the gates have been successfully used, on many occasions, to keep the river out of the town.