Fringe Box



Richard’s Wey March 2018

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

Apart from the occasional wet day here and there February’s weather was definitely a lot more settled than the rest of this winter has been.

The reduced burden of weir operations has meant that I could really get on with the last of the winter work programme.

As I’ve mentioned in previous months, one of the larger jobs each year is the offside cutback, where we remove low branches from the non-towpath side of the river to keep the navigation clear.

This is a very slow and labour intensive job which I couldn’t do without the help of my volunteers, so a big thankyou to them for all their hard work.

To spread the work and reduce the impact on wildlife I do this on a rotational basis, this year’s section included Dapdune Wharf to the A3 road bridge so if you’re passing that area do have a look at what we’ve been up to.

The River Wey Navigations is a unique property owned and maintained by the National Trust, however for our boating visitors it forms part of a nationwide waterways system.

As part of playing our role in this wider waterway network I was able to go and represent the River Wey Navigations at the Association of Inland Navigation Authorities conference in Birmingham.

With people there from the Environment Agency, Canal and River Trust and other waterways, this was a great chance for me to meet different people both locally and nationwide.

These sorts of events are really important to share information and discuss the issues that are affecting each waterway.

In last month’s diary I told you about a cygnet that we rescued, so this month I thought I should include another wildlife story.

My daughters feeding “Fred” the duck.

This time it’s about a very tame muscovy duck that seems to have taken up residency in the slipway at Stoke.

As you can imagine, my two young daughters have quickly taken a shine to him as he is very friendly and easy to recognise with his brown and white plumage and red face.

So much so that they have been feeding him every day and when I asked my oldest girl what we should call him she quickly answered with “Fred”!

I know that this isn’t a traditional duck type of name, but who am I to question the logic of a three-year-old and it does seem to have stuck so if you’re passing Stoke Lock don’t forget to say hello to him.

Just as the weather was seemingly more settled and the evenings getting lighter you’d have been forgiven for thinking that spring was on its way.

Two picture of Stoke Lock looking stunning under a coating of crisp white snow.

However, winter had one last sting in its tail as “the beast from the east” arrived at the end of February bringing freezing temperatures and even a liberal dusting of snow!

It did mean that the river looked absolutely stunning I even went out for a snowy litter-pick along the river just as an excuse to make the most of the fantastic atmosphere, safe in the knowledge that once the snow had gone spring is just around the corner (honest).

Stoke Lengthsman

07786 703 832

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