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Riff Raff Diary for October 2013

Published on: 9 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 9 Nov, 2013

Riff Raff Cottage and Weir

Riverbank tales from our local St Catherine’s Lengthsman/Weirkeeper

by Robert Craig

October and November is the time for me to concentrate on the winter cutback of the towpath vegetation.

This clears away the old dead growth in readiness for next year’s fresh growth; also it helps with identifying areas of damage on the river bank.  There are also plenty of leaves to be raked up in locations such as Millmead Lock and Stonebridge Wharf.

As well as aiding the fall of leaves the high winds experienced towards the end of October brought down some trees on my length of the navigation.  It was a great relief to me that the forecasted winds did not match those of 1987, not something I would wish to experience again.

At that time for a period my weirs were rendered inoperable due to the sheer volume of debris coming down the river and blocking them.  When walking the towpath upstream of St. Catherine’s lock you may notice the remains of a once magnificent oak tree on the moorings by the weir. That particular tree came down during the storm in 1990 – half an hour prior to this I had been working in the outbuilding which it fell on and completely destroyed; a lucky escape!

A Little Egret

A little egret

On a more cheerful note it’s good to see that the little egrets are back on the meadows in Guildford by Shalford Park.  As well as the now common sightings of buzzards, I am seeing the occasional red kite overhead.  If you’re not sure about identifying the kite just look for the distinctly forked tail.

See you by the river.

Buzzard

Buzzard

Red kite with distinctive forked tail

Red kite with distinctive forked tail

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