Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey July 2019

Published on: 21 Jul, 2019
Updated on: 21 Jul, 2019

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

Having had a couple of weeks’ leave recently as my “summer” holiday, it was a bit of a shock to the system to come back to work in torrential rain. 

Of course this meant some fairly intense weir keeping, with one night in particular that I was out at 10pm, 3am, 5am and 6.:30am. Or as one of my volunteers put it when I told him: “Basically you were up all night”. 

It honestly felt more like January than June, especially when the river went into flood and we had to put the red boards out at the locks to stop boats from moving. 

Unlike in the winter when this usually happens and there are very few boats navigating, at this time of year it proves a massive inconvenience to those people who are out trying to enjoy the river. 

We don’t want to stop boaters using the river, but it is for their own safety as the flow is too great for them to safely navigate; and when we explain this to people they are very understanding. 

Thankfully this was only a blip and the river was soon out of flood, although it did mean a similar amount of weir movements were needed to shut the weirs back in!

The combination of heavy rain making the vegetation grow twice as fast as normal, and the fact that weirs have to take priority over towpath maintenance, means that I feel like I started behind and have been chasing my tail ever since. 

For this reason I have had to prioritise my workload, which is why you may see on the towpath some random short sections of strimming in one place and maybe some hedge trimming done in another. 

This is generally because these are either the narrowest points on the towpath or that, by doing a bit here and a bit there, I can keep the whole of my length clear. 

Hopefully in the next few weeks the vegetation growth will begin to slow slightly. 

Thankfully I have had a little extra help recently with volunteers from Swingbridge2 who have been painting the horse bridge at Stoke, and the 1st Stoughton Scout Group helping me with a mass litter pick through Guildford one Friday evening. 

Even my daughters have got involved in helping me keep the towpath tidy this month.

I even roped my two young daughters into helping me collect litter, as my youngest daughter’s nursery school was running a local clean-up campaign with Surfers Against Sewage and I just happened to have the ideal location!

Finally the weather turned far more summery of late, just in time for our annual steam boat event at Dapdune Wharf, Puffing-A-Wey. 

With 15 steam launches being displayed by the Steam Boat Association, a model railway layout by the Astolat Model Railway Club and a display by Guildford Model Engineering Society, it was a fantastic event. 

The atmosphere of steam and whistles continued in to the evening as, after the Wharf had shut to visitors, we organised a boat ride and barbecue for our NT volunteers as a way of saying thank you for their hard work throughout the year. 

We couldn’t do half of what we do without them, so I hope they enjoyed the evening as much as I did.


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