I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Guildford Rowing Club (River Wey) – Tuesday 15th July

A day without movement.  We had planned on taking the boat back into Guildford to do some shopping but somehow that plan changed to a do nothing day!  It wasn’t helped by the fact that I just didn’t feel 100% all day.

We spent ages trying to plan for visitors coming on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The original plan had been to go down to Godalming but Broadford Bridge is extremely low and not only would the pots and top box have to come off the roof but the solar panels too – not such an easy job.  We have been to Godalming before and it’s a shame not to go again but the thought of unscrewing the solar panels has really put us off especially as the performance has to be repeated on our way back.  So we will stay here until Thursday morning now.
  
Looking downstream
Looking upstream towards Mary H
We have a lovely spot just downstream from the Guildford Rowing Club and I spent quite a bit of time today sitting under a willow tree reading – tough life!!  For info the rowing club was founded in 1880 and is the only Rowing Club in Guildford and the only Rowing Club based on the River Wey.

We are now on the Godalming Navigation (as opposed to the Wey Navigation).  This upstream extension from Guildford to Godalming was constructed in 1764. This resulted from a separate Act of Parliament passed in 1760 and benefited the Wey Navigation considerably by generating additional income from the increased traffic. The opening of the new navigation also brought an additional benefit to the town of Guildford. Prior to the construction of the waterway highly volatile cargoes of gunpowder were carried by horse and cart from the powdermills at Chilworth to Guildford, passing through the settlement along bumpy and dangerous roads. The new gunpowder wharves constructed at Stonebridge near Shalford meant that this practice could cease and a safer transportation by water could be employed.  Another interesting find (by Richard) is that there are a number of Alder trees near us - these are suitable for making charcoal and in the past its charcoal was favoured for gunpowder.

  
Unrestored lock
(borrowed from Google)
Restored lock
(borrowed from Google)
We now won’t be going past Guns Mouth, the junction with the Wey and Arun Canal - ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’.  The 23 mile canal was built to provide an inland link between the River Thames and the English Channel by connecting the Wey Navigations with the River Arun in West Sussex.  The first part of the canal was the Arun Navigation which provided a fully navigable route along the Arun River from the coast to Newbridge Wharf near Billingshurst in West Sussex. This canal was in operation from 1787.  The Wey & Arun Junction Canal was officially opened in 1816.  At its peak in 1838 the canal was generating an income of £7,763 from tolls but the canals were finally forced to close in 1871 when an Act of Abandonment was carried by Parliament.  The Wey & Arun Canal Trust aims to restore the canal back to navigation and restore the link between London and Littlehampton.  The Trust has several ongoing restoration projects, and lengths of the canal are now in water.  This map shows their work in progress.  

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