Wey Navigation – Worsfold to Stoke

DSC09736.jpg

Worsfold Gates are brought into use when the river is above normal levels. Previously under the old Wey trustees and the Stevens family the gates at Worsfold and Walsham were operated at all times.

Between Weybridge and Send the navigation consists mainly of artificial cuts, however from Send to Godalming the navigation uses more of the river.

DSCF0556.jpg
Despite being a quite rural waterway, signs of urbanisation can be seen in places, such as where the navigation rejoins the Wey at Worsfold. The large building seen in the distance is sited within Woking. The old wooden building on the left was once known as Send Boat House with rowing boats for hire.

IMG_0226.jpg
Just below Triggs Lock there are traces of a small inlet on the offside, as shown above. The NT claims that this was the entrance to a wharf but this was actually sited a little bit further downstream and the area can be seen from a footpath just off the lane to Triggs lock as shown on some 1830s tithe maps.

The inlet just mentioned actually happens to be the tail-end of Sir Richard Weston’s ‘flowing river’ built in the early 1600’s. Weston’s artificial river as originally built did not extend this far however it was progressively extended throughout his lands, eventually its outfall met the Wey here.

DSCF0575.jpg
Triggs lock and cottage in winter. Triggs Lock was the first residence for the Stevens family. William Stevens became lock keeper at Triggs in 1812. The family eventually became the navigation’s owners until 1964 when Harry Stevens gave it to the National Trust.

DSCF0599.jpg
The navigation near Send church in winter at what is called ‘No Mans Land’

DSC04821.jpg
The navigation as it comes off the canal section onto the Wey at Broad Oak.

DSCF1605.jpg
Broak Oak weir

The navigation follows the boundary of Sutton Park around Broad Oak. Sutton House was where Sir Richard Weston lived, he was the owner and promoter of the Wey Navigations. He initially used the River Wey for water management for the puropses of controlling the pastures the he owned.

The scheme boosted hay production and reduced the effect of winter frost. Before the Wey Navigation was opened, Weston built his first lock at Stoke. Its main purpose was to control the water through his ‘float pastures.’

DSC02956.jpg
Broad Oak weir and bridge. The weir (originally known as Twelve Oak weir) was part of Westons water management scheme of 1618.

On the west side of the river is Coopers Meadow (also known as Cowliss Mead.) Here Sir Richard Weston dug the first of his water management channels in 1618, having been influenced by Rowland Vaughan’s 1610 book ‘Most Approved and Long experienced Water Workes containing The manner of Winter and Summer drowning.’

DSCF0604.jpg
Scene on the Wey at Bowers Lock. The mill house, seen here, was originally a laundry for Sutton Place. The actual mill was demolished in 1947.

Bowers lock often catches unsuspecting boaters unawares. The river flows fast at this location and extra care is therefore needed when entering the lock chamber.

DSC04338.jpg
Bowers Lock and the towpath bridge from the lock lay by.

DSCF1745.jpg
Dapdune Belle on a rare trip to Bowers Lock in September 2009. Visits here by trip boats were more frequent at one time. In the days when Harry Stevens owned the navigation, Articus ran regular trips from Guildford right through to Broad Oak!

IMG_0438.jpg
Roller for facilitating the haulage of barges hauled by horses at the top of the Bowers Cut by the Old Bucks weir. Although the use of horses ceased in 1960, virtually all the associated equipment on the Wey Navigations remain in situ as a reminder of the commercial days.

Bowers Lock to Old Bucks weir cuts off two miles of river with a short canal section.

DSC02971.jpg
The river north of Stoke. There are many alder trees (in the form of stumps) along the towpath of differing shape and size, making a good photographic opportunity – especially in the autumn/winter.

Next: Stoke to Guildford Wharf

Wey Navigation Pages:

Thames Lock – Weybridge Town / Coxes – Parvis Wharf / Parvis – Walsham Gates / Newark – Worsfold Gates / Worsfold – Stoke / Stoke – Guildford Wharf / Town Mill – St Catherine’s / Shalford – Godalming / Harry Stevens

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *