Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey May 2019

Published on: 18 May, 2019
Updated on: 18 May, 2019

national-trustThe latest report from Richard Cant, the Stoke lengthman on the River Wey Navigations

Probably the most noticeable thing over the last few weeks has been the lack of “April showers”. Not that I’m complaining, as the continuing dry weather meant very few weir movements were necessary and I’ve been able to crack on with my busy work programme.  

This meant continuing with grass cutting, painting, litter picking and so on, to make sure everywhere was looking its best. 

I’ve also been strimming gaps in the very quick growing bankside vegetation for visiting boats to be able to moor up. 

At the start of the Easter school holidays boat traffic seemed slow to take off as, although it was relatively dry, the temperatures remained fairly low but this all changed on the Easter weekend with the mercury soaring along with visitor numbers. This was great to see as it really makes all the hard work feel worthwhile, and the sight of boats using the waterway really brings the place to life. 

My small group of regular volunteers have been busy helping along the Stoke length, although this time of year can be very difficult to find suitable jobs for the larger volunteer groups. 

I still really appreciate the help but with bird nesting season upon us we have had to stop the winter works of scrub clearance, pollarding, coppicing, and so on, and the work to control invasive species such as Himalayan balsam doesn’t really start until around June time. 

This is why it’s so important to carefully plan tasks for groups such as the Wey Navigation Conservation Volunteers, who meet on the first Wednesday of every month at varying locations along the navigations. 

April’s task was replacing an old barbed-wire fence with a more robust and aesthetically-pleasing split chestnut post and rail version, which was very satisfying to do and something that everyone could be proud of. 

If you fancy joining in with any of our many different volunteering roles along the property then why not drop me an e-mail?

I can’t do a newsletter at this time of year and not mention spring wildlife, which this year seems to be bursting with abundance. 

Just in the Stoke Lock area there is so much to see, like the numerous families of sparrows nesting around the eves of the lock cottage, grey wagtails under the lock bridge and the pair of egyptian geese with seven goslings who seem to have made the lock their new home. 

These 14 ducklings in the slipway at Stoke Lock are the most I have ever seen.

I’ve even had a mallard with 14 ducklings swimming around the slipway, which is definitely the biggest brood I’ve ever seen.  Next time you’re down the river keep your eyes peeled and remember to share any pictures you get on our Facebook page – we’d love to see them.


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