Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey April 2019

Published on: 19 Apr, 2019
Updated on: 19 Apr, 2019

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

To me this time of year is always one of contrasts; spring is definitely in the air (or already started on March 1 if you follow the meteorological calendar) but, at the time of writing, winter has definitely not relinquished its grasp just yet.

Only a few weeks ago there was a mixture of heavy rain and strong winds, which not only made for some intensive weir keeping but also a number of trees blown over that had to be dealt with. 

Thankfully this happened before the trees came in to full leaf, as the sail effect of the foliage had the potential to bring more down. 

One of the wind damaged trees that completely blocked the navigation in March. Luckily our call out rota for incidents meant we attended quickly and re-opened to boat traffic with minimal disruption.

As it was, all of the trees were fairly straightforward to clear up with no more than a chainsaw and winch needed – even if they did end up spoiling a Sunday morning, but that’s why we work on rota system to deal with these sorts of incidents.

With bird nesting season slowly starting we have to be careful with what work we carry out so that we avoid disturbance. However as previously mentioned, this early on in the season the trees are still nearly bare and so checking for nests or bird activity before commencing work is nice and easy. 

This has meant that I’ve been able to make the most of the help from my volunteers and finish removing low branches on the towpath, clear sightlines on bends to help navigating boats and cut back unruly hedges at our visitor centre at Dapdune Wharf. 

I’ve also been out further along the navigations as well, pollarding the willow trees at Coxes Millpond with the Wey Navigation Conservation Volunteers and working on the Triggs length to clear a worksite for the forthcoming dredging programme.

In contrast to the earlier wet and windy spell, the last couple of weeks have seen some very warm and sunny spells, even if this did mean that we still had a touch of frost of a morning. 

The good weather meant a chance to work on sprucing up the locksides ready for the start of the boating season at Easter. 

Again my volunteers have been a big help with the annual lock painting, so thank you very much. 

The grass is now all neatly trimmed, the edges around the lock chamber trimmed back and any bare patches of earth filled in, so we just need the weather to bring out the boats to come and appreciate it. Fingers crossed for a balmy Easter weekend.


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