It has become known as the 'Hickling hotstep'.

Locals in the Norfolk village are having to dash to a public loo each time they want to answer a call of nature after floodwater put their own toilets out of action.

Villagers have faced the regular lavatory run for almost two months, ever since Storm Babet raised water levels in their area.

The levels remain extremely high in Hickling, overwhelming sewerage systems, meaning locals can't use their toilets, baths, showers or washing machines.

It means they are relying on routine visits to the council-owned toilet block, 300 metres down the road near the village's Pleasure Boat pub.

North Norfolk News: The North Norfolk District Council-owned public toilets at the Pleasure Boat Inn, HicklingThe North Norfolk District Council-owned public toilets at the Pleasure Boat Inn, Hickling (Image: Adam Barker)

They also have to take trips to shower at a leisure centre in North Walsham, 12 miles away, and to use a launderette in Wroxham, 10 miles away.

It is the lack of domestic toilets, however, which is most pressing.

"Without the loos at the Pleasure Boat I don’t know what we would’ve done," said Susan Adkins, one of those affected.

"It’s inconvenient and freezing cold and wet. We have to go down there in the dark with a torch and high-vis vest on as there’s no streetlighting or pavements.

“This time of year you’ve got to put loads of layers on. It’s really not nice and shouldn’t be happening.

“We can’t even offer to help each other out because we’re all in the same boat. Christmas is almost upon us and we’ve all got family coming.

“What are we going to do this Christmas? If we get more rain between now and then we’re stuffed - Christmas is cancelled.”

North Norfolk News: Residents Steve and Susan Adkins in Staithe Road, HicklingResidents Steve and Susan Adkins in Staithe Road, Hickling (Image: Adam Barker)

The village is on the edge of Hickling Broad, the largest of the Norfolk Broads.

Water levels on the entire river network have been extremely high in recent weeks, with flooding in many riverside communities.

This follows a series of heavy downpours and high tides, which mean the Broads take longer to drain.

Some critics have also suggested the levels have taken even longer than usual to go down this winter because of the impact of Great Yarmouth's new Herring Bridge, which has reduced the width of the river by a third near where it flows into the North Sea.

During Storm Babet, in October, fire crews had to be called to pump water out of a number of homes in Hickling.

But the problems persist. They are most acute for around a dozen properties close to the broad, on Staithe Road, and it is these homeowners who have been most reliant on the public toilets.

North Norfolk News: Steve and Susan Adkins' flooded Staithe Road garden in HicklingSteve and Susan Adkins' flooded Staithe Road garden in Hickling (Image: Susan Adkins)

READ MORE: Shocking aerial shots show Broads villages underwater after flooding

“We are consistently having raw sewage flowing out of the drains and into our gardens and driveways,” Mrs Adkins, 59, who lives in Staithe Road, said.

“It’s revolting raw sewage that’s smelly and unpleasant.

“It’s been a nightmare. Every time it rains you cross your fingers because the drains back up and we get raw sewage coming up.

“It mixes with the rainwater and we’re having to pump that out onto the road, which is all running into the broad.”

Although the waters have now receded enough to allow the Adkins to use their toilet, they fear more rain could put it out of action again.

Others, meanwhile, are still relying on the public loos.

“One couple haven’t been able to use their toilet since October 20th,” Mrs Adkins added.

North Norfolk News: Steve and Susan Adkins, who live in Staithe Road, HicklingSteve and Susan Adkins, who live in Staithe Road, Hickling (Image: Adam Barker)

The sewage problem hasn't affected the public loos or properties nearest the broad as much as it has for the around a dozen households further up Staithe Road. 

Harry Blathwayt, councillor for Hickling and portfolio holder for the coast at North Norfolk District Council, said the village was in a "precarious situation", with fears storms and flooding will only get worse in years to come.

“It shouldn’t happen, it’s wrong, and I feel desperately sorry for anybody who has been put through this discomfort," he said.

“We wait with concern and trepidation as to our weather events this winter." 

READ MORE: Aerial photos show flooding at Norfolk marshes after Storm Babet

North Norfolk News: Harry Blathwayt, councillor for Hickling and portfolio holder for coast at North Norfolk District CouncilHarry Blathwayt, councillor for Hickling and portfolio holder for coast at North Norfolk District Council (Image: North Norfolk District Council)

Simon Wilson, chairman of Hickling Parish Council, who lives nearby on Stubb Road, said he has been affected by the flooding.

“We had backflow during the storm conditions when we had the heavy rain as well as the high spring tides,” he said.

“We get a tidal locking effect which means Hickling broad overflows. That, in turn, effects the lowest of the sewerage in the village, which are on Staithe Road.

“We’re some distance from Staithe Road but even our drains were backflowing, overflowing up through the manhole covers.

“The sewerage system is so poor in Hickling that a lot of rain water goes into the sewers and pumping systems can’t cope with the unusual storm conditions.”

North Norfolk News: Flooding at Staithe Road in HicklingFlooding at Staithe Road in Hickling (Image: Adam Barker)

Villagers say they feel abandoned by Anglian Water, saying they haven’t received any support from the water company.

Instead, they’ve spent thousands on pumps and sandbags in a desperate attempt to protect their homes.

Anglian Water said flooding had inundated the sewer network, and the loss of sewerage services will only be resolved once the water abates – which could take another two weeks.

However, North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker, who held a crisis meeting with Anglian Water, Norfolk County Council and North Norfolk District Council this week, said he has given the agencies 48 hours to come up with a plan to help residents.

North Norfolk News: North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker (Image: Duncan Baker)

“Whilst I recognise the unprecedented problems of recent storms and that Anglian Water have somewhat of a waiting game until the broads’ water levels subside, it is completely unacceptable that after all this time the wellbeing of residents has not been properly addressed,” he said.

“It highlights two failures to me: that we need a far better resilience strategy to help families when flooding occurs, and that Anglian Water assets, which are overwhelmed today, need looking at for the future because storm and flood events will only increase.”