Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey February 2016

Published on: 19 Feb, 2016
Updated on: 19 Feb, 2016

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

January started by being a very busy month of weir operations.

Periods of wet and then dry weather meant that river levels were very unstable, requiring  me to continuously open and close weir gates to maintain the correct water level.

This is a 24-hour responsibility and even when I’m not physically out in the rain winding handles I still have to wake up in the night to check the levels.

As you can imagine this can really take over your life at times but it is a very important job and must take priority over my planned tasks.

Thankfully it just so happened that I had a work placement student from Sparsholt College out with me for three weeks in January, so with his help we still managed to keep on top of the work programme even with the added pressure of weir keeping.

Charlie, who is currently studying for a foundation degree in ecology and conservation, has volunteered with me before during previous study and has even worked for the National Trust on a seasonal basis.

So when he told me he wanted to come out and help I jumped at the offer, planning a work programme that made the most of his skills and enthusiasm whilst trying to make sure he could learn from the variety of work we do.

Volunteers coppicing ash trees.

Volunteers coppicing ash trees.

This meant we did a whole host of work from strimming vegetation, coppicing ash as part of a volunteer work party, clearing fallen trees, maintaining tools and even completing a tree planting scheme to help improve the Stoke Length.

So thank you very much Charlie for all your hard work and good luck in your studies.

And then on Friday, January 22, at 9.12pm my life changed forever (again) as my second daughter was born, Grace Marie Cant weighing in at 6lb 13oz.

Mother, baby and big sister Olivia are all doing really well and as you can imagine I am a very proud father.

If you haven’t seen me out on the towpath recently it’s because I have been fortunate enough to be able to take three weeks off work to enjoy the experience and support my wife Louise.

Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all my colleagues who have covered my weirs during a wet and windy January, I know they’ve been busy.

Hopefully now the days are getting longer the weather will improve and I will get to see you when I’m out with my family enjoying the navigation and the joys of spring.


Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

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