Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey Late September 2014

Published on: 9 Oct, 2014
Updated on: 9 Oct, 2014

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

Usually when writing these notes I work my way systematically through my diary and explain what I have been up to but, as much of my month was spent getting ready for the Wey River Festival event, I think I’d better start there.

The director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, launching our new trip boat the Sir Richard Weston.

The director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, launching our new trip boat the Sir Richard Weston.

On September 27 we held the first Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf, giving the public and our boating community the chance to come and celebrate the navigation in a relaxed party atmosphere.

The event involved stalls from local community groups, displays by local craftsmen, children’s activities and a performance by the travelling Mikron Theatre Group. This all happened during the daytime and was followed by an evening of light with the wharf lit up by coloured floodlights and the illuminated boat pageant that involved 15 boats decorated with lights parading from Millmead Lock.

As you can imagine an event like the Wey River Festival takes a lot of organising, which was mainly done by our admin and visitor services team. My role was to make sure that my length was ready for the added influx of boats. With the help of some of the other lengthsmen I cleared the banks of the towpath from Guildford to Dapdune Wharf ready for the boats to be able to moor up.

I also got the monthly Wey Navigation Conservation Volunteers in on the act, as they spent a day clearing vegetation, repairing fences and generally tidying up around Dapdune.

Other tasks that my volunteers helped me with were litter picking the towpath, clearing rubbish from the water, removing low branches so that it was safe for the boats travelling at night in the pageant and putting up posters around Guildford to advertise the festivities.

We did have a very special guest come to the festival – the director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh. As the guest of honour she helped unveil our Transport Heritage Award. She also helped us launch our new trip boat Sir Richard Weston before going on a ride into Guildford on her.

I was lucky enough to be one of the members of staff and volunteers who went out on this trip and it was great to get the opportunity to explain the work that we do on this unique National Trust property.

Lastly for this month, those of you that have passed Stoke Lock recently may have noticed that we have a guest in the form of a large wooden sculpture of an otter! Many of you will recognise him from Woodbridge Meadows where he used to live, but unfortunately he was on the brink of being thrown into the river so I had to rescue him.

Guildford Borough Council is aware of where he is and will be collecting him shortly, but it seemed a shame not to put him on display during his stay at Stoke Lock, so enjoy him while you can.

Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

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