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Richard’s Wey July 2020

Published on: 4 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 3 Jul, 2020

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

It’s been a few months since I last wrote my diary notes and since then so much has changed that I don’t even know where to begin. 

At the peak of the coronavirus pandemic the nation was in lockdown and the navigation was closed to all boat traffic. However, we did see a dramatic increase in numbers walking along the towpath and it was fantastic to see so many people using their daily exercise to come and explore this wonderful waterway right on their doorstep.

This swan didn’t appear to have got the social distancing memo and was still keen to share my lunch!

Even as the restrictions are gradually lifted people still seem to be seeking refuge from the stress of daily life here on the river and I hope that this may be one of the positives that come from this whole situation.

Although Dapdune Wharf remains closed for the moment whilst we work out how to safely re-open to the public, the navigation is now back in operation and people seem to be appreciating the opportunity to use their boats again.

Even more so because in mid-June weir restoration work above Millmead Lock was completed and the waterway is now navigable from Godalming to Weybridge, something that hasn’t been possible since November last year.

It’s not only our existing moorers who are taking advantage of the opportunity to get on the water as we have had an influx of people with small boats, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. This has been great to see and long may it continue, although please remember that even the smallest of craft require a licence before using the navigation.

Throughout the pandemic the lengthsmen and maintenance teams have continued to work in order to keep the property safe and operational.

Water level control for instance has still needed to be done, as has vegetation cutting to keep the navigation clear for the increased amount of foot traffic.

We have of course been restricted by social distancing and travel limitations, meaning that at times we have been only able to do the bare minimum.

Hopefully, as government restrictions are now lifting and towpath traffic has eased slightly, we should be able to get back on top of things.

One thing I have noticed during this time is how nature has carried on doing its own thing, regardless of the pandemic that is affecting us humans so dramatically.

Leaves have formed on trees, blossom has flowered and ducklings have hatched and are now growing in to young adults.

I find something very calming and reassuring about the awesome power of nature and how it can thrive no matter what; maybe that’s what continues to draw people so strongly to the outdoors during these difficult times.

Richard

07786 703832

richard.cant@nationaltrust.org.uk

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