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Richard’s Wey November 2017

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

You may remember last month that I mentioned Old Bucks weir near Bowers Lock had been dewatered for a structural survey. Well, with the work finished and the weir receiving a clean bill of health I decided it was time it had a bit of a spruce up.

With the help of my volunteers and some very good fortune with the weather we managed to paint all the hand rails along the weir, which should not only help protect the metal this winter but also make the area look a bit smarter.

With the weather good enough for painting then it’s no surprise that the grass has still been growing, meaning the locksides have still received their regular fortnightly trim.

My volunteers hard at work painting Old Bucks weir.

This past month there was good reason for having the locksides looking prestine as the busy October half-term week saw plenty of boats out on the waterway for what is traditionally the end of the boating season.

The other reason for making everywhere look extra neat and tidy is that Bowers Lock is about to become famous! Filming has just taken place for the new BBC drama Good Omens starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. So when it does finally make it on to our screens do keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot the River Wey.

The weather wasn’t all good in October as we had the arrival of winter storm Brian which, although didn’t seem to hit us too badly, it did manage to bring down a couple of trees along the navigation, both of which completely blocked the waterway and were only a few hundred metres apart.

The trees weren’t on the Stoke length but as the lengthsman team work on a weekend rota system it was my turn to work with my colleagues to make the trees passable.

Thankfully they proved relatively straightforward and we had the navigation back open by Sunday afternoon, allowing boats safe passage whilst we waited for the landowners who owned the trees to have them completely removed.

With the autumn chill finally in the air at the end of October I decided to bite the bullet and cut this year’s quota of hazel from my small coppice area by the A25.

By cutting a percentage each year on rotation I can meet the aims of maintaining a screen to block the view of the industrial buildings from the river, improve the habitat value of the site and also create a usable amount of natural material.

This year the hazel has been used to make wooden stakes and binders which my volunteers used to weave a barrier to screen off the bonfire area at Stoke Lock. All in all a very enjoyable task that proved productive and sustainable.

Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

richard.cant@nationaltrust.org.uk

www.facebook.com/RiverWey

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