It’s great that most of our river and towpath users take great pride in keeping the Navigation clean and tidy, disposing of their rubbish carefully and even picking up the odd runaway crisp packet. We also have staff and dedicated regular volunteers that do their bit to clear the inevitable litter that finds its way into and alongside the river. It all helps to make the Wey Navigation a beautiful hidden gem of the waterway system. We really do appreciate all the volunteer hours and days we receive here, we couldn’t function without them.
In more urban areas litter can become a problem and in Guildford town centre the towpath attracts more rubbish than our more rural sections and requires more attention to keep it looking pristine. When Marks & Spencer staff offered to come out for the day and litter pick with us, we were more than happy to accept their help. The 23 volunteers from 5 local stores joined our Lengthsman Richard and Chris to blitz an area of central Guildford. They collected 17 bags of rubbish, over half of which we were able to recycle and everything from cigarette butts to a suitcase.
This is the third year running that they have come out and helped us clean up and with the extra pairs of hands we really manage to get into those nooks and crannies. The event is part of the national “Big Beach and Waterways Clean-up” campaign, so we are just one of the lucky waterways that have received help this week. The projects are all funded by the 5p carrier bag charge in M&S stores when you forget your reusable ones.
Some of the M&S team enjoying the sunshine after their hard work.
When you get the call you just drop everything and go.
I might not know all Trust properties intimately but working here makes you part of a family and when one of you is in trouble you know you have to do what (little) you can. The River Wey team were just some of the staff from all over the region who joined the emergency services when a fire struck Clandon Park yesterday. As part of the salvage team we were able to help get some of the irreplaceable furniture and paintings to safety but unfortunately much was also lost. It is heartbreaking to see a much loved and important building reduced to a shell but obviously that loss is felt so much more by those who live, work and have loved the place for so long. Whatever you do it never seems enough.
It is a tribute to the place and the organisation that as I was leaving after 1 a.m another property team was arriving having travelled an hour to get there and ready to get stuck in.
Thanks to the ‘Operation Owl’ and Woking LA21 we are the proud owners of a new Little Owl box. It seemed appropriate to put it up on Boxing Day. The fact that it was a dry day without too much activity from the weirs and having willing volunteers in the form of Christmas guests made it seem like a sensible choice.
We managed to find the perfect tree, overlooking the right sort of grass and hunting territory and the preferred North Easterly direction. Luckily I managed to find a row of trees pointing the right way and away from the water, which can be a real hazard for the fledging owlets. The plan is that this will be the first of many Little owl, Barn owl and Tawny owl boxes up and down the river. I have seen or heard all 3 species on the Walsham length so hopefully it is only a matter of time before the first inhabitants move in!
Following Lucy’s decision to leave we have now been joined by Chris, who is the new Lengthsman at Triggs. He has grown up fishing here, so knows the stretch of water well. He has also been volunteering with us for a couple of years, alongside his day job as a groundsman and studying at Merist Wood. ( Not that i’m biased but as an ex-groundsman myself I know that he has all the skills he’ll need to do a cracking job! ) If you see him out and about please say hello and make him feel welcome.