Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey January 2013

Published on: 6 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 6 Feb, 2013

Richard Cant, the Stoke lengthsman of the River Wey and Godalming Navigations.

The latest of our riverbank tales from the local Stoke lengthsman Richard Cant

The River Wey and Godalming Navigations are owned and maintained by the National Trust for the benefit of both river users and wildlife. For this to be possible the navigation is split into six lengths, each looked after by a lengthsman, with my length stretching around 3.5 miles from Millmead Lock to Bowers Lock. My main roles include weir operation to control the water levels, grass cutting, painting, tree work and running events. With the other lengthsmen I work on a rota system so that there is always someone on hand for any incidents that may occur along the Navigations.

January 2013

The new year started as the old one finished – WET!  This meant that rather than a nice leisurely bank holiday lie in on New Year’s Day I was up and out doing my first weir movement at 4am to deal with the increasing river flow rates.

Thankfully this wet weather didn’t last for too long and after this busy start the weir operations were few and far between for the first half of the month, meaning that I could get on with some of the other winter tasks along the Stoke length.

The heavy rainfall in December had left its mark though, as increased river flows meant silt had moved and been deposited in the form of sandbars. On Saturday, January 5, I was called out to assist a boat that was stuck on one of these new shallow points near Godalming. Fortunately it winched free relatively easily, and to prevent it happening again our maintenance team are looking to dredge these areas before the start of the main boating season at Easter.

Volunteers get down to some coppicing.

Volunteers get down to some coppicing.

As coppicing is a traditional winter task, it is unsurprising that it was on the January work programme for the Wey Navigation Conservation Volunteers. This time we were coppicing hazel at back of the towpath just upstream of where the A3 crosses the navigation. This may seem a strange place for a traditional country craft, but this small pocket of coppice stools is now back in a short rotation meaning that each year we can cut and remove a usable amount of material without having too much impact on wildlife.

This cutting process will also encourage the trees to grow, extend there lifespan and allow light to reach the ground beneath so that more plants can grow. If you are interested in joining in, the volunteers meet at various locations along the navigation on the first Wednesday of each month – please email me or call for more details.

Other tasks this month have included servicing the lawn mowers for the lengthsman team, discussing future wildlife surveying work, and even a training course on finance and budgeting, held at the National Trust’s London office. A mixed and varied start to 2013, but it wouldn’t be right not to mention the big white dollop of precipitation that we saw towards the end of January. Whatever your opinion of snow, you must agree that the navigation did look absolutely stunning while it lasted.

Richard Cant

Stoke Lengthsman

Tel: 07786 703 832

Here is a list of the 2013 events taking place on the National Trust’s River Wey and Godalming Navigations:

Ridge Walk

Sunday 10 Feb 10.30am, GU2 4BB

Meet at Millmead Lock, for an 8 mile walk to Watts Gallery via St Catherine’s, Artington, the Ridges and back to Millmead via the Ship Inn.  Bring a packed lunch.


Pyrford Circuit

Sat 16 March 11am, GU23 6DN

Meet at Newark Lock, for a 7 mile walk around the Pyrford area with the Wey volunteers.


Easter Family Fun Day

Fri 29 March 11am-5pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

A day of family fun, with sports day races for children and craft activities.

NAA plus £2.50 for children’s activities.


Easter egg hunt

Sat 30 March-Mon 1 April 11am-5pm Dapdune Wharf

NAA plus £1.50 for Easter trails


Wildlife Gardening Drop-in workshop

Wednesday 3rd April 10.00-2.00, Walsham Lock, GU22 8XE

Pop along to Walsham Lock, for advice and ideas on wildlife-friendly gardening. There will be an opportunity to grow your own bird food, ideas for family projects to do in your own garden and information on plants to get your garden buzzing. 


Hike, bike, kayak

Tues-Thurs 9-11 April

Interested in hiking, cycling and kayaking your way through beautiful Surrey? You can cycle, walk and paddle your way from Reigate to Shalford. Three star accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

For more details ring 01372 220644 B £499


Flower Arranging

Fri 12 April 11am-3pm Dapdune Wharf

Learn to create beautiful spring arrangements to take home.  Soup and roll included. B



Canons and Cornmills

Sun 21 April 10.30am  Meet at Newark Lane car park GU23 6DN

An inspiring 6 mile walk with lots of history: Newark Priory, the Pyrford Place summerhouse and the old eel traps can all be seen.  Bring a packed lunch, though we may stop in Ripley for refreshments.  Many thanks to Surrey County Council for allowing us to use their walk.


Down Your Wey Day

Mon 6 May 11am-5pm, Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Craft workshops and children’s activities with an environmental theme

NAA plus £2.50 for activities


Bat night with Surrey Bat Group

Sat 11 May 8.15pm

Join Surrey Bat Group for an evening walk to look at what bats are doing at this time of the year along the river.

£5, children £3 B


Cream Tea Totter

Sun 12 May 2-6pm, Dapdune Wharf

A 3 mile stroll to Bowers Lock to meet Dapdune Belle, our electric launch, for cream teas on the lockside and a boat trip back.

£12.50 B


Photography Workshop

Sat 18 May 1-4pm, Send Workshop, GU23 7AL

Join local photographer Jason for a stroll with your cameras with the opportunity to evaluate your pictures and find out how improve and get the most out of your cameras. Beginners very welcome

£5 B 


Navigating with map and compass

Sun 19 May 10.30am-4pm, Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Workshop session looking at how to navigate followed by a 90 minute ‘find your way’ session.  Bring a packed lunch

£3.00 B



Watercress Beds Walk

Sun 19 May 10am – 4.30pm, Millmead Lock, GU2 4BB

A good walk of approx 10 miles and some steep sections. We will take in part of the Godalming Navigation, St. Martha’s Hill, Albury watercress beds and Chilworth Gunpowder Mills. Pub stop in Albury.

Meet at Millmead lock, Guildford 10am.


Cream Tea Trotter

Sun May 26, 2 – 5pm, Godalming Wharf, GU7 1LQ

Join Mandy, lengthsman for Catteshall length, at Godalming Wharf for a walk to Unstead where you will meet Jenny on Iona (a horse-drawn narrowboat) with a cream tea which you can enjoy on the return trip to Godalming.

£13.50  B 


Wilderness Week

27 May-2 June, 11am-5pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

A half term week of den building, foraging and survival crafts, suitable for 5-12 year olds.

NAA plus £2.00 for children’s activities


Dog day

Sat 8 June 11am-5pm, Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Fun and games for dogs and their owners, with competitions, trade stands and craft activities for children



Real Ale Trail

Sat 8 June 12-4pm, Town Lock Weybridge, KT13 8XT

Walk with Steve, lengthsman for New Haw to the Anchor pub at Pyrford and visit 3 pubs along the Wey. Mini bus ride back to the start.



Mammoth Mash

Sun 9-Sat 15 June

Let’s all do the Balsam Blitz!  Come and help us control invasive species – we will be bashing Himalayan balsam all week at different points on the Navigations.  If you’re interested in lending a hand, call us and we’ll let you know where it’s happening.

Ring 01483 561389 to book. B


Hike, bike, kayak

Mon-Sun 10-16 June

A longer version of our April event, going from Outwood Windmill near Redhill to Swan Barn Farm in Haslemere.  But it’s not just about two wheels and feet; take to the waters and enjoy a riverside view as you kayak along the Wey Navigations. Three star B&B accommodation.

For more details ring 01372 220644 B £899 per person


Painting with Mel Cambridge

Thurs 13 June Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Enjoy a day’s painting at Dapdune Wharf with local artist, Melanie Cambridge.  Watch a demonstration, take a sketching tour of the Wharf before creating your own masterpiece.

£35 B



Sun 16 June 8.30am

A unique chance to swim a section of the river Wey before enjoying a cross country run around Shalford Park.  Full distance – 1500m swim / 5k run

Sprint distance – 750 swim / 3k run  Children’s fun run – 2k

From £5. Series entry £40 (3 events), 01483 720 459.


Solstice Walk

Sun 23 June, 7.30am, Godalming Wharf, GU7 1LQ

Walk the whole 20 miles of the Wey and Godalming Navigations – from Godalming its downhill all the wey!  The walk takes roughly 8 hours, with a couple of breather-breaks so you get lots of opportunity for a good chat with new people. 


Guildford Festival Boat Gathering

Sat 6 July 12-6pm, Millmead Island, GU1 3XL

The colourful boats moored along the towpath all weekend are well worth a visit – decorated boat pageant at 4pm, illuminated pageant at dusk.  Children’s activities and other stalls on the island.


Here be Dragons

Sat 13 July 1.30-3.30pm, Walsham Lock, GU22 8XE

Join lengthsmen Lucy and Emma for a two hour gentle stroll along the river to look for the beautiful dragonflies and damselflies that make their homes here.  Bring your cameras (photographic tips and advice will be available) but not your dogs please.


Get to know Steamboating

Sat 13 July 11am-5pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Spend a day in the company of members of the Steam Boat Association and become a crew member!  Have a go at polishing the brass and raising steam.

Numbers limited, so please book on 01483 561389 (no charge)



Sun 14 July 11am-5pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

After the success of last year’s event the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain have kindly agreed to come back to show off even more of their magnificent steam powered craft.


Mayflower Morris

Sun 21 July Dapdune Wharf GU1 4RR

Mayflower Morris is a team of women north west clog morris dancers, based in Ash. In 2013 they are celebrating their 35th anniversary of dancing and are sharing their celebrations with us at Dapdune.  Why not come and have a go?



Sun 28 July  8.30am

A unique chance to swim a section of the river Wey before enjoying a cross country run around Shalford Park.  Full distance – 1500m swim/5k run.

Sprint distance – 750 swim/3k run,  Children’s fun run – 2k

From £5. Series entry £40 (3 events), 01483 720 459.


Bug Detectives

Tuesdays in August,12pm and 2pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Two one-hour sessions of bug hunting followed by a game.  Book on the day, numbers limited

NAA plus £1.50 for children’s bug hunts


Hidden Habitats

Thursdays in August, 11-5pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Fun and games with environmental and historical places at Dapdune Wharf.  Previously everyday objects yield stories of the past – uncover our hidden habitats.

NAA plus £2 for children’s activities


Shipwreck Explorers Family Fun Day

Sun 18 August, 11-5pm, Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

A fun and exciting day for all the family with the Nautical Archeological Society at Dapdune Wharf.  Activities range from learning to draw and survey like an archaeologist to having a go at handling real life artifacts from an underwater site.


50 things along the river

Sat 31 Aug, Walsham Lock, 12-5pm,GU22 8XE

Catch a fish with a net, balance on a fallen tree, hunt for blackberries, watch out for butterflies – see how many things you can tick off your 50 things list. 


Cream Tea Totter

Sun 1 Sept  2-6pm, Dapdune Wharf GU1 4RR

A 3 mile stroll to Bowers Lock to meet Dapdune Belle our electric launch for cream teas on the lockside.  Our General Manager joins you for a talk about how the waterway is managed on the boat trip back.

£16.00 B


Heritage Open Days

Sat 7 Sept 11am – 5pm, Dapdune Wharf GU1 4RR & Shalford Mill GU4 8BS

11am – 3pm, Send Workshop GU23 7AL

Free admission for Heritage Open Day. With costumed guides at Dapdune and historic boats and stalls at Send in conjunction with Byfleet Boat Club


Heritage Walk round Godalming

Sat 7 Sept, 2pm, meet at Godalming Wharf, GU7 1LQ

A 90 minute walk around Godalming Wharf and the Navigation with our Catteshall lengthsman, Mandy, looking at how both have changed and developed. 


Cream Tea Trotter

Sun Sept 15, 2pm – 5pm

Join Mandy, lengthswoman for Catteshall length, at Godalming Wharf for a walk to Unstead where you will meet Jenny on Iona (a horse-drawn narrowboat) with a cream tea which you can enjoy on the return trip to Godalming.

£13.50  B 


Early morning walk

Sun 22nd Sept, 7.30am Walsham Lock, ,GU22 8XE

Enjoy a leisurely walk along towpath, with or without cameras, for about an hour, followed by a bacon or veggie butty at Walsham Lock.

£5 B


Autumn Tramp

Sun 22 September 10am–4.30pm, GU4 8BU

A walk of approx 10 miles starting in Shalford and heading south along the Godalming Navigation passing by Winkworth Arboretum and over the hills to Bramley for a pub stop. Returning to Shalford along the old Cranleigh line. One steep section.  Meet at The Seahorse car park, Shalford at 10am.


Woodland Crafts

Sun 29 Sept 11am-4pm, GU7 3BU

A woodland crafts demonstration/participation day, at the Colonel Grounds.  Learn how to make gate hurdles, wooden spoons, tent pegs etc and enjoy a day in the woods.  Bonfire bangers and buns at lunchtime.

£5 B


Navigating with map and compass

Sun 6 October 10.30am-4pm, Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Workshop session looking at how to navigate followed by a 90 minute ‘find your way’ session.  Bring a packed lunch B



Harvest Home

Sun 6 October, 11-4pm Dapdune Wharf plus evening bonfire at 4pm

We will have a variety of activities to welcome the harvest: you can press your own apple juice and have a go at autumnal crafts.  The harvest wouldn’t be complete without apples, cider, a bonfire and Morris men – and we hope to have them all!

NAA, plus £2 for daytime children’s activities.  (£1 for bonfire baked potatoes)


Hills, Heath and Mills Walk.

Sunday 20 October 10am–4pm, GU2 4BB

A walk from Millmead Lock in central Guildford over Chinthurst Hill, Blackheath with a pub stop in Chilworth then back towards Guildford past the Gunpowder Mills, Shalford Mill and Shalford meadows. Approx 8 miles.

Meet at Millmead Lock at 10 am. 


Autumn Colours

Mon 28 Oct-Sun 3 Nov 11am – 4pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Environmental decorative fun with autumn leaves and berries – what will you make?  Craft activities and outdoor exploration (if not very wet!)

£2 for children’s craft activities.



Thurs 31 October 11am – 4pm Dapdune Wharf, GU1 4RR

Grrr!  Who can carve the most horrible face?  Bring a pumpkin, carve a face and we’ll give you a tealight to bring your work to life!


The last commercial stretch

Sun 10 Nov 11am, Thames Lock, KT13 8LG

Join our volunteers for a five mile walk along the lowest section of the Wey Navigation which follows the route of the last commercial barges.

Meet at Thames Lock


Christmas Needlecrafts

Wed 13 Nov 10am-3pm Dapdune Wharf

Come and have a go at making your own Christmas tree decorations, stockings and place mats.  This festive session will be led by our sewing group volunteers.  Bring your own sewing machine, but materials and lunch will be provided.

£20 inc materials, soup and a roll.  B


Natural Christmas decorations

Wed 4 Dec 11am, Send workshop GU23 7AL

Due to popular demand from the wreath makers, we have arranged a similar day to make your own natural decorations for Christmas.  Materials will be provided, but do bring any you would like to use.

£25 inc materials and soup and a roll. B


Wreath making

Wed 11 Dec, 11am, Send Workshop GU23 7AL

The fireplace at Send workshop beckons!  The perfect environment to create beautiful Christmas wreaths for your home.

£25 inc materials and lunch

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