Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey November 2015

Published on: 20 Nov, 2015
Updated on: 20 Nov, 2015

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

The continuing settled and mild weather has meant that the grass and other vegetation has been continuing to grow, making my October work programme feel more like summer than autumn.

This means mowing the locksides and strimming gaps in the bankside vegetation for visiting boats and fishermen.

This property presentation work is always especially important in the lead up to October half-term holiday which tends to be the last hoorah for the boating season.

After this surge of boat traffic people tend to put their craft to bed for the winter, as river flow rates become less stable and our maintenance team begin the winter work programme of repairing locks, stopping boats from passing through.

Of course not everything is still growing, so it’s been quite a good month for trimming back hedges and low hanging branches, safe in the knowledge that they should now stay looking neat and tidy over the winter months.

You may have noticed that my volunteers and I have been cutting back the basal growth around the lime trees on Bowers lockside.

Although possible to do with a hedge trimmer, I still believe this sort of work looks best done with a pair of secateurs, so after hours of sore knees and aching hands I hope you agree they look great.

Uncovering the Second World War concerete blocks beside the waterway opposite Dapdune Wharf.

Uncovering the Second World War concerete blocks beside the towpath opposite Dapdune Wharf.

One slightly more unusual task in October was a bit of impromptu archaeology.

As a volunteer and I cleared vegetation and accumulated soil from around some old Second Worlod War defences on the towpath opposite Dapdune Wharf.

The large concrete cylinders would have originally formed part of the wartime GHQ defence line, and in the event of invasion would have been rolled into the road to stop advancing tanks and other vehicles.

Since then they have sat at the back of the towpath getting gradually more hidden by soil and ivy, until now!

It was a really interesting job unveiling these pieces of modern history and got me thinking about what it must have been like for people during the war facing the very real threat of invasion.

It was also great to find that people passing by were interested in what we were doing and very enthusiastic about us revealing these strange lumps of concrete with such a dark history.

Of course, the settled weather couldn’t last forever and at the end of October the heavens opened which meant I was busy operating weirs around the clock to maintain the correct river levels.

I really shouldn’t complain though as I have been very lucky to be out working in one of the most colourful autumns that I can remember, so if we do get some sunny spells come down the river and make the most of nature at its best.

Stoke .engthsman.
07786 703 832.

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