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Richard’s Wey October 2019

Published on: 20 Oct, 2019
Updated on: 20 Oct, 2019

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

With children back at school the number of boats on the river has dropped significantly in the last few weeks, although there are always a few of our boaters who aren’t constrained by term times and relish the chance to be out and enjoy a more peaceful waterway. 

Unfortunately for those still out on the water the weather has been a real mixed bag. Although the sunny days were glorious, these were interspersed by days of relentless rain. 

Even in autumn there is plenty of wildlife to see on the river, like this red admiral butterfly enjoying a nice sunny spot.

Something that I’m sure my volunteers will vouch for as they got rather soggy on more than one occasion, although I have to say they all continued working without a grumble so well done. 

One thing that did draw the boats in was our annual Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf, something that thankfully fell on one of the very warm and sunny Saturdays towards the end of September. 

The Wey River Festival at Dapdune Wharf. Picture by David Rose.

The good weather meant that spirits were high and visitor numbers even higher with around 2,400 visitors making it our most popular event ever!  As well as coming to see the boats, there were stalls with activities going on throughout the day, culminating in the illuminated boat pageant in the evening. 

This saw 15 boats lit up in convoy through Guildford town centre to the sound of a live steel band – it really was quite the spectacle.  

Malcolm Watson and David Rose (pink tabard) on the Second World War history walk. Picture courtesy of Helen Barnsley. The walk was in conjunction with the 2019 Guildford Walkfest month-long festival of free walks.

Although the River Festival may have been the biggest event we’ve ever had, it wasn’t the only one happening in September. With the help of local historian David Rose and Malcolm Watson, one of our volunteer researchers, we led a very successful guided walk to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. 

Some of the 55 people who came on the Second World War history walk. Picture courtesy of Helen Barnsley.

Booked a year in advance to coincide with the Heritage Open Days weekend, we were again very fortunate with the weather and the 25 people booked on the walk turned in to 55 people actually turning up! 

This is the biggest guided walk I’ve ever done so thank you to everyone who turned up, it was real pleasure to meet you all.

As you can imagine, with so many events going on, I spent much of the month making sure the river looked its very best. This meant mowing locksides, litter picking, painting tatty signs and strimming out moorings for the boats to moor up at the festival. 

All of which had to be done in between the unplanned works such as clearing a fallen tree on the St Catherine’s length, one on the Triggs length and a pair of semi-fallen but hung up trees that had to be cleared on my own length. 

All in all another busy month so as always a massive thank you to my volunteers for giving up their time to support me; there’s just no way all this could get done without you!


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Responses to Richard’s Wey October 2019

  1. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    October 21, 2019 at 11:07 am

    Disgraceful!. Hrumph! World going to the dogs.

    When I was a boy, a mere 60 years ago, all the chaps on a walk such as this would have been wearing suits and ties and the women encased in frocks and carrying parasols, with the exception of a wild-eyed, potentially certifiable group known as “Ramblers”. As many as twelve or even fifteen photographic images between the whole bunch may have been snapped for posterity.

    Mind you, we did spend a whole year of weekends and holidays in the sheds at Daphne Wharf with the Sea Cadets, fixing up a 26ft naval cutter to spend about ten days on the Thames that summer. Hardly any other boats about, with the rare exception of an occasional horse-drawn barge headed to or from Stevens Wharf.

    Happy Trafalgar Day!

  2. John Lomas Reply

    October 21, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Is the wooden feature in the butterfly picture, a piece of urban art, or is it an old wooden bollard showing the wear caused by years of boat mooring ropes or barge towing ropes?

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