Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey November 2018

Published on: 13 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 13 Nov, 2018

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

One of the things I love about my job is the fact that working outdoors lets me appreciate the changing seasons, and I’m always looking forward to what the next one will bring.

This year is no exception, and after having had such a long hot summer I felt ready for the change in gear that is autumn.

The cooler temperatures and shorter days have been brightened by a fantastic display of autumnal colour and with little wind so far this season the trees have held their leaves well, so enjoy brisk walks in crisp leaves while it lasts.

It’s not just nature’s changes that I look forward to, but also the variety in work that each season brings.

The grass on the locksides has slowed right down with only one cut in October, meaning that I have been able to make a start on my autumn/winter work programme.

The most notable of these is probably the fact that my volunteers and I coppiced a large amount of hazel from next to the A3 road bridge. Each tree when it has been cut down (coppiced) is known as a stool, and will quickly start to generate new growth in the spring.

This traditional method of woodland management not only produces a usable source of material but also helps improve the biodiversity of the area. In this instance the trees also form a physical barrier to screen the less than picturesque view of the back of a superstore from people using the navigations, so it’s important not to coppice too much in one year.

he woven hazel fencing that my volunteers created using sustainably coppiced timber from along the river.

I’m pleased to say the stakes and binders (long whippy sticks) have already been put to use to create a rustic fence in the boatyard at Stoke Lock.

If coppicing is a winter job then painting is one for the spring, so why have I done both this month? As I said previously my work is governed by the weather so when we had a bit of dry and mild weather at the beginning of the month I jumped on it!

With the help of my volunteers we took the opportunity of giving Old Bucks Weir and a few other small navigation structures a lick of paint to protect them over the winter.

Other jobs in this very varied month have been strimming moorings for visiting boats over half term, replacing signs at Millmead Lock and cutting back overgrown Ivy.

I’ve also been helping out with the last of the educational school visits at our visitor centre Dapdune Wharf, and carrying out research for next year’s events programme. What a welcome change to the summer regime of mowing autumn brings.

Stoke Lengthsman
07786 703 832

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