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Things to do: Surrey's River Wey
By Heather Driscoll-Woodford
BBC Surrey

River Wey
The River Wey has lots to offer everyone at this time of year

You don't have to be Mole, Ratty or Badger to enjoy the delights of England's waterways.

Nor for that matter do you have to be amphibious like Mr Toad, to while away a few hours messing about on, or near the river.

The Wey meanders across the county from its source in Hampshire, through Farnham, Godalming, Guildford and Weybridge and further via Navigations.

We have just a few ideas of what to see and do along the 'Wey'.

Together with the Navigation canals, there are 20 miles of river to explore, which have been enjoyed by local folk for over 350 years.


Opening a lock on the Wey Navigation
There are plenty of opportunities for boating on the River

If the actual 'messing about' is your style but your ship's captain skills aren't up to much, you can join a boat already fully crewed, leaving you to relax in the bows and take in the views.

There are public river trips from Guildford Boat House in the town centre, next to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

Join the open-sided 'Harry Stevens' for a guided trip along the waterway, or if you really want to do the 'Wind in the Willows' thing, you can hire a rowing boat instead.

Rowing boats and canoes are also available for hire at Farncombe Boathouse which also boasts a riverside bistro for the hungry sailor.

Byfleet Boat Club on the Wey Navigation have rowing boats for hire too.

But if catching a crab, or watching one of your oars float away, is a distinct possibility, then you can let the mane take the strain with a horse drawn boat trip at the Godalming Packet Boat Company.

Narrow boat 'Iona' used to carry coal, lime juice, chocolate crumb and steel in the 1930s but will now accommodate you instead, pulled steadily along by heavy horses Ben and Denzil.


Barge at Dapdune Wharf
View the Reliance which used to work the River in the 1930s

If local river history floats your boat more than you fancy bobbing about in one, then why not visit the visitors centre at Dapdune wharf in Guildford.

It's situated on Wharf Road at the back of the Surrey County Cricket Ground.

There you can learn about the Navigations and the people who lived and worked on them.

You can also see the 72ft (22m) barge Reliance, which is a rare example of the barges that once carried timber, coal, corn, flour and wood to London from Surrey along the Wey.


Paddling in s river
Calling all water babies - paddling is for all!

There's nothing nicer than taking off your shoes and socks and paddling in a shallow stream or river.

Especially if you are under 12!

But even the big kids among us have been spotted dipping a toe or two into the river at Tilford near Farnham.

In fact, the spot is so popular with eager waders hoping to cool down, that in the height of Summer it's standing room only!

But at this time of year, if the trickle of water has been warmed by the sun, it's delightful.

If you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you view it) you may catch a game of village cricket being played on the neighbouring green which dates from 1853.

The historic local pub has got wise to the fact that the adult paddlers sometimes like to refresh themselves pre or post dip, and will allow you to take drinks over to the green, so long as you return your glasses and plates.

Historic barge restored at wharf
06 Jun 08 |  Surrey



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