Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey November 2014

Published on: 15 Nov, 2014
Updated on: 15 Nov, 2014

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

The weather at the beginning of October was great, making it feel more like summer than autumn. So unsurprisingly I was still doing the summer jobs of mowing locksides and scraping off the vegetation that was growing on the lock gates.

A volunteer plants primroses and cowslips in a new wildflower area at Dapdune Wharf.

A volunteer plants primroses and cowslips in a new wildflower area at Dapdune Wharf.

Of course it’s important to use these spells of good weather to get ahead of the game, which at this time of year means cleaning water level markers and oiling weir gates so that everything is working as it should be when the winter rain arrives.

I was hoping it would be a bit longer before the rain arrived but by mid-October it was pouring down which meant that everything else got put on hold whilst I was controlling the water level on the Stoke length.

Unfortunately one holiday boat found themselves moored up with nowhere to go for a couple of days as the navigation was suspended due to fast flows.

I did what I could to keep them informed of what was happening and tried to make things as comfortable as possible for them by telling them where the nearest shops, pubs and takeaways were. Thankfully they had a good sense of humour, even when they later found themselves blocked again by a fallen tree! This didn’t hold them up for long though as we soon had it cleared and they were able to enjoy the rest of their holiday unimpeded.

Boaters weren’t the only river users that were inconvenienced by the weather in October, as once again we had to shut the towpath in Guildford. This was due to some tiles that had blown loose from a neighbouring building and were hanging precariously over the towpath.

It’s not long since the towpath was re-opened after the flood damage caused last winter so many of the walkers I talked to were concerned that it would be out of use for an extended period. In the end it only took a few days for the problem to be resolved, but it really did highlight to me how many people use and appreciate that section as I had walkers and cyclists queuing up as I took the fencing down.

As October came to an end the weather returned to being dry and mild, giving me the chance to carry on with my autumn jobs such as trimming the basal growth from the lime trees at Bowers Lock and pollarding the willow tree at the end of the Stoke Mooring line.

Alas, I fear that good weather can’t last for ever and as I write this it is starting to rain, so make the most of it while it lasts, and come down the river to enjoy the autumn colours.

Richard Cant, Stoke lengthsman.

Tel: 07786 703 832.

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