Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey September 2014

Published on: 29 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 29 Sep, 2014
Looking upstream from Stoke Mill. One of the posters we placed as part of the “Airing the Archives” event which saw old pictures put up all along the navigation at the point they were originally taken.

Looking upstream from Stoke Mill. One of the posters we placed as part of the “Airing the Archives” event which saw old pictures put up all along the navigation at the point they were originally taken.

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

With the grass growth finally seeming to slow down, a quick once-over the locksides with the pedestrian mower to trim off the straggly seed heads is all they needed during late summer.

This have me a chance to get on with some of the less regular vegetation management such as hedge trimming the back edge of the towpath and removing low hanging branches from the river and towpath.

This is especially important on the river to make sure that sight lines around sharp bends are clear for boaters, although cutting off branches from a moving boat isn’t the easiest of tasks so I was very happy to have the help of my volunteers!

If you have seen me out and about in a white paper suit, wellies and rubber gloves recently, don’t be alarmed, it’s just me treating the invasive plant Japanese knotweed.

This non-native plant is a real menace and can be very difficult to get rid of once it’s established. Thankfully we only have a small number of outbreaks along the navigations and over the last three years I have been carrying out a treatment programme to try and eradicate it.

I am pleased to say that it does seem to be working as some of the previously treated sites now have no signs of regrowth, and one of our biggest outbreaks has been reduced by 90% after just one treatment. This is by no means a quick fix and we will continue to monitor these sites for years to come, as well as keeping our eyes peeled for any new siting of this invasive plant.

As is traditional, the heavens opened on August bank holiday Monday, followed by another torrential day of rain on the Tuesday. With over two inches of rain falling over the two days it was a very busy time operating the weirs to control the water levels, especially as during one cloud burst the water runoff from Guildford meant that you could almost watch the river levels rising!

Unfortunately for those out boating at the time the Stoke and Triggs lengths of the navigation had to be closed on the Tuesday (due to fast river flows) so we had to ask the boaters to moor up and wait for flow rates to reduce to a safe level.

In this situation we do all we can to keep people informed and safe and with six boats waiting at Stoke Lock and four boats waiting at Bowers Lock I spent my time in between weir movements passing out maps of the local area and advising people of the nearest pubs. Thankfully by operating the weirs overnight we were able to re-open on Wednesday morning and send the boaters on their way to enjoy the rest of their holiday.

Richard Cant

Tel: 07786 703832

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Responses to Richard’s Wey September 2014

  1. John Lomas Reply

    September 30, 2014 at 12:05 am

    You can’t leave as just “Looking upstream from Stoke Mill”

    What were they actually doing?

    [David Rose adds: Whoops, sorry about that. The caption beneath the photo on the sign put up by the Wey Navigations read: “The picture shows the River dammed off, presumably to build what is now the Woking Road Bridge. Many things have changed with the building of the Bellfields Estate and the A3 Guildford Bypass. The fields behind the towpath on the left are still there and so is the long wall you can see on the right of the picture.”
    Actually, the caption is not right! The photo dates to 1906 and although the river was dammed, it is the laying of pipes for the sewage works at Slyfield. The current Stoke Bridges weren’t built until 1925. Interestingly, the photo shows the weather-boarded cottages that stood next to the Row Barge pub. Those cottages are long gone, the site of them is now the pub’s car park.]

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