Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey May 2016

Published on: 8 May, 2016
Updated on: 8 May, 2016

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

April began in the same way that March ended – clearing up after Storm Katie, whose appearance put a very wet and windy dampener on Easter Monday.

As you can imagine clearing trees from a river navigation is much trickier than at other National Trust properties, as I can’t just drive up to them and log them up.

Firstly I have to wait for the flow rates to decrease enough so that I can safely use a boat, and then slowly cut the trees up into bite size pieces before using a hand winch to ease them out of the river inch by inch.

The awesome power of nature, this boat was blown clean off of its trailer by storm Katie back at Easter.

The awesome power of nature, this boat was blown clean off of its trailer by storm Katie back at Easter.

Fortunately for me I had some mechanical assistance in the form of the floating excavator, or to be more accurate two floating excavators!

This was because both the National Trust and Environment Agency dredgers happened to be passing through my length on the way to other jobs. This meant that a day with each machine and my length was clear of fallen trees, saving me a lot of time and energy so thank you to everyone who helped.

With the weather improving all the time I am now well in to my spring/summer work programme, which seems to currently involve spending a  lot of hours walking behind a mower.

However, I can’t complain as I do get plenty of help from my volunteers, and the positive comments I get from boaters and other river users makes it all worthwhile.

We even managed to get Stoke Lock painted in between the unseasonal snow showers!

Of course, as a lengthsman, I have to keep my knowledge up to date and skills honed. So this month I have been on the three-yearly chainsaw operation refresher course with some of my colleagues from the maintenance team.

It was a very practical and informative course which helps to pick us up on the bad habits that we may have developed.

I have also been on the first of a series of half-day wildflower identification course with Surrey Wildlife Trust, again this helps to keep my plant skills up to date and valid.

April finished with the first of my events for this year, Spring Has Sprung. This was a spring themed event at our visitor centre Dapdune Wharf, with seed planting, scarecrow making and pond dipping.

Unfortunately, despite the name of the event the temperatures were definitely more suited to winter than spring, so we didn’t have as many visitors as we would have liked.

I’d still like to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers who put so much effort into this event and I know those visitors who did come along really enjoyed all the activities.


Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

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