Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey June 2017

Published on: 6 Jun, 2017
Updated on: 6 Jun, 2017

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

The mixed weather over the first May bank holiday didn’t seem to put off the boaters, with plenty of people out and about enjoying the waterway.

The trend for sunshine and showers continued throughout May meaning that the vegetation has been growing at full pace.

This has kept my volunteers and I busy with mowing the locksides, trimming low hanging willow branches and carrying out what we call the summer cutback on the towpath.

This is a very messy job that involves strimming the bankside vegetation at 45 degrees to stop it growing over the path whilst maintaining good vegetation layer for wildlife. I’ve also been cutting in fishing swims ready for the start of the fishing season on June 15, so if you see me wearing my overalls and covered head to toe in grass cuttings you’ll know what I’ve been doing!

It’s not all been about vegetation cutting this month, I’ve also been busy making sure the river is looking nice and tidy for the increased level of visitors.

This has meant litter picking the towpath, scooping litter from the river by boat (a time consuming task but surprisingly peaceful and a favourite with the volunteers) as well as cleaning signs and re-painting those that are looking tatty. I’ve even been doing things like sweeping steps and edging the grass around the locks, and it’s this attention to detail that really makes the navigation such a special place to visit.

Other jobs this month have included cleaning graffiti from Bowers Lock, weeding flower beds, burning piles of brash left over from the winter treating the non-native invasive plant Japanese knotweed before it over takes our native species.

Doggy steps are a novel way of dealing with persistent bank erosion and work well at this location as they blend in with the rest of the newly re-instated bank.

One slightly more obscure task was to build some doggy steps in to the river in a bid to repair a section of eroded bank that is popular for dogs paddling in the river.

The idea behind the steps is to protect the bank from further erosion whilst maintaining somewhere dogs can easily get in and out of the water, stopping new points of erosion elsewhere.

As neither my volunteers nor I had tried doing anything like this before, the process involved a lot of head scratching and making it up as we went along. The result however seemed tidy, secure, and discreet enough to blend in with the existing bank, so do let me know if your dog has found it on the section of towpath between the A320 and A25.

Finally, I would like to thank the member of the public who phoned me about a gosling that had been separated from its parents. The person very kindly waited for me to arrive to show me where the gosling was and also pointed me in the direction of its parents and siblings. I’m happy to say that due to their help I managed to catch the gosling and re-unite the family, so all’s well that ends well.


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