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Riff Raff Diary – November 2019

Published on: 16 Nov, 2019
Updated on: 16 Nov, 2019

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

Riverbank tales from the local St Catherine’s lengthsman and weir keeper

By Robert Craig

Autumn arrives and it’s straight back into weir keeping duties for me – a result of course of all the rainfall we’ve experienced over the last few weeks.

Robert will write about the Tumbling Bay weir collapse in next month’s diary.

It was not all rain though and I was able to get on with those seasonal jobs such as raking fallen leaves. There were plenty of those to be cleared at Millmead Lock in Guildford and at Stonebridge Wharf.

Whilst at Millmead I also cut the grass on the locksides and moorings as it is still putting on growth. Heading back upstream I gave St Catherines Lock a cut and cleaned the vegetation from the lock gates.

St Catherine’s Lock

At Stonebridge Wharf I cut the grass by the boat moorings. Other recent tasks I’ve done include the pulling up of ragwort in St Catherine’s Meadow. This is the one by St Catherine’s Lock which is grazed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust’s Belted Galloway cattle.

Along my length of the navigation, I have also been cutting back some of the branches which overhang the towpath and cutting down saplings which grow in the bank, all of which will be cleared as I carry out the annual winter cut back of the towpath vegetation during the coming weeks.

Redwings over Whitmoor Common, Worplesdon. Photo Malcolm Fincham.

Watch out during November for the flocks of redwings arriving from Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland. They come here to spend the winter in our milder climate.

Redwings migrate at night and on clear autumn nights, their “tseep tseep” call can be heard as they fly overhead.

See you by the river.

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