Wednesday, 12 July 2017

River Wey Navigation

Having arrived on the Wey from the Thames at Weybridge last Friday we have been travelling up the River and this evening (Thursday) we arrived at the navigable limit at Godalming.  It is a lovely river and this posting will tell you of our experience.  You do have to buy a separate licence from the National Trust which is the navigation authority, but if you are a member you get 10% discount.

So on Friday we came up the Thames from Kingston:

We passed this rowing barge at Sunbury.  It is Gloriana which carried the Queen in the Jubilee Pageant in 2012.

Passing Hampton Court Palace around 10 am we saw the crowds arriving by boat and on foot for the Flower Show.  There were hordes of them.

Sunbury Church is a prominent landmark on the River.
 This rather splendid little launch was for sale at Shepperton.

To enter the River Wey you pass to the left below Shepperton Weir and past the welcome notice from the National Trust who own and manage the waterway.  A short winding stretch then leads to Thames Lock.  Here you can see a small launch coming out of the lower pound of the Lock.

Thames Lock is an odd one.  A large lower pound with a huge single 14 foot wide gate was put in after the navigation was built because the level of the Thames was reduced when locks were built there.  This first picture shows the lower pound before increasing the water level.
And here is the same view after raising the level by a foot which is all that is necessary to get the boat over the cill of the main lock which raises the boat about 8 feet.  Fortunately there is a lock keeper here to make all this work.  He collects the licence fee and offers information, including a useful little booklet about the navigation.

We moored above Thames Lock opposite some very expensive houses and this was the view from a porthole the following morning of a garden on the other side of the river.

The Wey Navigation is one of the very first with pound locks having been built in 1653.  On Saturday we carried on up the river to Pyrford Lock.

Here is Leo waiting below Weybridge Town Lock, the second lock up the river.  The weir stream comes under the three arches, but the navigation and the access to the lock is under the squared arch to the right.  Last time we came this was very shallow, but it seemed much better this time.

Here is Leo in Coxes Lock with Coxes Mill behind.  The Mill is a fine building now converted to expensive flats.  Behind the lock in this view is an attractive mill pond.

Another landmark: back under the M25 before passing Woodham Junction where the Basingstoke Canal starts.  We have fingers crossed that we can go up there later, but at the moment it is short of water and the far end is closed.
And here is the Anchor at Pyrford.  We came here a lot when we lived in Woking and had arranged to meet Helen's cousins Pete, Jan and Nina here for lunch.  Given that we are supposed to be going upstream, you may wonder why Leo is heading downstream.  Well we took Pete and Jan for a short cruise there and back.

 On Sunday we had another lunch appointment at the New Inn at Send.

We came up Pyrford Lock with another boat called Snowgoose and here you can see them following us through Walsham Gates which is a flood lock and the only remaining turf sided lock on the Wey.  Given the dry conditions it was open.

There was a rampant growth of weed in the  lovely reach up to Newark Lock.  I think this is floating pennywort, but I'm not certain.

And here is Maxwell, 9 months old, and already reading the menu at the pub.  

And here are Angela, our niece, and Soji proud parents of little Maxwell who seems interested in something on the boat rather than in looking at the camera.  We took them for a ride too and finished up for the second day facing the wrong way as we moored for the night in the meadows below Trigg's Lock.

We have many friends round here as we used to live nearby in Woking.  So Monday was spent visiting some friends and neighbours.  But on Tuesday we carried on to Guildford.  Heavy rain was forecast.  It arrived in the afternoon and carried on all night.  Perhaps this will fill up the Basingstoke Canal?

The river above Trigg's Lock seems pretty remote but you can just catch a glimpse of the church at Send Grove through the trees.

At Bowers Lock we waited while this work boat came down.  You can just make out the lock behind the boat.  You have to make a sharp left turn off the river to get in the lock.

And then we had a heavy shower!  You can even see the raindrops on the camera lens.  Fortunately the rain didn't start properly until we had moored up.

Dapdune  Wharf in the picture is the headquarters of the Navigation and we had hoped to moor there, but it was full, so we carried on through Guildford and up Millmead Lock.

This is Onslow Bridge in the centre of Guildford.

And this metal man stands on the wharf in the centre.

Past the Yvonne Arnaud theatre and a mill you turn left into a short cut to Millmead Lock which Leo is entering in this picture.  There are lots of gongoozlers here as the footbridge over the lock is a well used pedestrian highway.

We moored on the meadows above the lock and put all the covers down before the rain really got started.  However all was not miserable as we met our friends Dianne and Rolf for an early evening meal.  One of the attractions of spending the summer on the boat is catching up with friends round the country.

Today we have come south again to reach the most southerly part of the connected network at Godalming.

This is the lowest bridge on the river and you can see that clearance was a bit limited on Leo.  Fortunately we had taken the flowers off the roof that morning.  The bridge is nominally 6 feet 4 inches above the water but with the rain it might have been a little less.

This is Trower's Footbridge on the approach to Godalming.  The advice is to go through the square arch but when you get there it is pretty obvious.

We turned round at the last winding hole and moored in a nice spot alongside meadows close to town.  A horse boat operates from Godalming Wharf and passed us later.  You are advised to clear your roof if you are on its route from Godalming to Unstead.

Godalming church has a tall lead sheathed tower.

By the river is a memorial cloister built by the townspeople with encouragement from a well known local, Gertrude Jekyll.   The memorial is to the radio operator on Titanic who stayed at his post sending SOS while the ship sank.

We followed a riverside path beyond the navigable limit.  Here you can see a strong stream under the bridge, possibly increased by the rain.  So just as well we didn't bring Leo up here!

We thought Godalming was a delightful town and the local museum is also well worth a visit.  Tomorrow we may well do some more sightseeing before we head back downstream on this lovely river.  We are praying for overnight rain to fill the Basingstoke Canal for our next adventure.

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