Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey July 2013

Published on: 7 Aug, 2013
Updated on: 7 Aug, 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

July began for me with a last-minute mow of the locksides and strim of the visitor moorings along the towpath to make sure everywhere was looking its best for the Guildford Boat Gathering.

This annual event sees around 80 boats descend on Millmead in Guildford for a chance to meet other boaters and show off their boats. There was also plenty for the public to do with stalls, children’s activities, a decorated boat pageant and the ever popular Guildford Lions Raft Race.

It was a great day so don’t miss out next year, and put the first weekend in July 2014 in your diary.

The gorgeous sunshine and dry weather we had for the boat gathering continued through much of July meaning that the grasses growth finally decided to slow down. This break from behind the lawnmower gave me a much needed chance to get on top of work on the towpath including removing low hanging branches that were weighed down by leaves.  Another towpath task was to strim the bankside vegetation at 45 degrees, this maintains a nice open path for our river users whilst also maintaining the habitat for invertebrates and other wildlife.

The continued good weather even meant that I had time to start hedge cutting the back edge of the towpath, something that I have left a little late this year due to the cold spring delaying the bird nesting season.

The Puffing-A-Wey event saw 16 magnificent boats from the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain descend on our visitor centre Dapdune Wharf in Guildford.

The Puffing-A-Wey event saw 16 magnificent boats from the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain descend on our visitor centre Dapdune Wharf in Guildford.

The Guildford Boat Gathering wasn’t the only event I was involved in during July; there was also the steam boating weekend at our visitor centre Dapdune Wharf.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend put on in collaboration with the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain, which attracted 16 steam boats from all over the country.

The steam boat owners kindly put on trips for the public, along with children’s activities and rope work demonstrations from the Surrey branch of the International Guild of Knot Tiers. So I’d like to say a big thank you to all those that made it possible, it was a great weekend for boat owners and the public alike so lets hope we can do it again next year.

I’ve been continuing my fight against invasive plant species in July namely Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed. These are non-native plants that thrive in the conditions in this country and spread rapidly.

Unfortunately, this means that they out-compete our native species and therefore reduce the biodiversity of the navigation. The balsam can be controlled by pulling out at the roots but unfortunately the only effective means of removing the Japanese knotweed is chemical treatment.

At the moment we only have small patches along the navigation and by acting now we can save using large quantities of chemicals later, so if you do see me out spraying please remember that this is for the good of the environment in the long run.

Richard Cant

Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

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