HOME
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MAP

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GETTING TO
KNOW THE
RIVER

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EXPLORING
THE RIVER

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MAP OF
THE RIVER

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MAP OF
NAVIGATIONS

. . . . . . . .
RIVER WEY
NORTH BRANCH

. . . . . . . .
RIVER WEY
SOUTH BRANCH

. . . . . . . .
RIVER UNITED
TILFORD TO
GODALMING

. . . . . . . .
THE WEY
NAVIGATIONS
• Introduction

• History
• The Godalming
Navigation

• The Wey
Navigation

. . . . . . . .
RIVER
TRANSPORT
• Introduction

• Lock
• Barges
• Life on the
Barges

• The Horse-
drawn IONA

. . . . . . . .
WEY INDUSTRY
• Introduction

• Watermills
• Flour & Bread
• Fulling & Cloth
• Chilworth
Gunpowder
Mills

• Charcoal
Making

• Brewing
• Papermaking
• Ice Houses
. . . . . . . .
WEY WILDLIFE
• Introduction

• Habitats
• Trees & Plants
• Insects
• Birds
• Fish
• Countryside
Designations

. . . . . . . .
WEY PLACES
• Introduction

• More About
ALTON

• More About
FARNHAM

• More About
GODALMING

• More About
WEYBRIDGE

• More About
BROOKLANDS

. . . . . . . .
WEY PEOPLE
• Introduction

• Legends
• The Big Names
. . . . . . . .
WEY ART
• Introduction

• Boat Art
• Inn Art
• River Graffiti
. . . . . . . .
ADJOINING
WATERWAYS
• Basingstoke
Canal

• Wey & Arun
Canal

• The Thames
. . . . . . . .
LINKS &
FURTHER
SOURCES

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ABOUT OUR
PICTURES

. . . . . . . .
USEFUL
BITS

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FEEDBACK
We welcome
your comments

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SITE
MAP

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WEY RIVER
FREELANCE
COMMUNITY


The Waterway that
Inspired a Nation

GODALMING NAVIGATION NEAR ST CATHERINES LOCK

Welcome to this community site about the Wey Valley. With over 300,000 words and more than 2,000 images, the site is maintained by volunteers who have tried to give you a great introduction to this beautiful and historic valley.

History, nature and the people of the Wey with a chance to explore surrounding historic places - Alton, Haslemere, Farnham, Godalming, Guildford, Woking, Ripley, Byfleet, New Haw and Weybridge. You'll find it all here.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT US

SEARCH Photofiles


GOLO The Godalming Town Lottery supporting local good causes
The first small town lottery in England launched in November 2008 to help good causes in the town.
MORE HERE

Conserving the heritage of the Wey Valley. All about the Wey Valley Landscape Partnership HERE

GPS Cows killer fungus Tongham Pool Whiteley Village Worplesdon Breathing Places Farnham becomes a University Town River Wey floods 40 years on Fire in the sky Farnham Transition Town Guildford game of baseball predates American Hindhead Tunnel emergency fears Godalming Transition Town Abbotswood a most unusual estate
click for a smile!

Do you care about
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Wey
Snippets

The ultimate in canal travel?
SEE PICTURE

WEY FACTUAL
The River Wey is quite unusual. It has two separate sources in two different counties. The two River Weys unite near the historic Tilford Oak in Surrey

WEY VALLEY FOOD
OVER THE CENTURIES

“To make Hare Soup”
Loseley (Guildford)
17th century Recipe
“Skin & wash Hare in warm water, & preserve the blood, cut it into small pieces, keep out the best parts of it, & put the remainder into a pan with 3lbs of beef, put the blood of the Hare into the pan also with some whole pipper onions & a bundle of sweet herbs. Let it simmer for an hour stirring it occasionally. Strain it off from the above ingredients, & then add the other part of the Hare which was left out, some grated bread & salt, boil it 3 hours very slowly.”
Old Surrey Receipts & Food for Thought
Daphne Grimm


RAPE SEED FIELD

click image to enlarge


WEY LIFE

“In the last war we used to take a lot of foodstuffs to Unstead. That was a big food depot. We used to unload flour and a lot of tinned food. Everything was under barbed wire. You couldn’t get into the place. You didn’t dare leave a barge. That’d soon be gone because they knew what the barges had. We used to have a lot of light-fingered gentry up the river. You came up with about fifty-five to sixty ton of all different tinned goods. Meat, fruit, all sorts. We used to live pretty well, though, during the war, if I do say so myself!”
Captain White's River Life Nancy Larcomber

MUTE SWAN
click image to enlarge

WEY FACTUAL
TheWey and its two Navigations flow across 87 miles (140 km) of countryside yet drop a mere 98 feet (30 m) by the time the waterway joins the Thames at Weybridge.


The river has variously been recorded through history as Wegan (956–1225) and Waie (1190–1193).

There were more watermills per mile along the River Wey than anywhere else in Britain when this method of powering machinery was at its zenith in Britain. In the centuries before flour production became centralised, virtually every parish would have a mill to where the local farmers brought their corn.

WEY POLITICAL
Most of the river's North and South branches, and the first few miles of the navigation run through the South West Surrey constituency. So local politics has a direct bearing on the welfare of much of the valley.

Here are some political facts:

  • SW Surrey covers most of the Waverley district of Surrey and includes Farnham, Godalming and Haslemere as well as smaller key villages such as Tilford, Hindhead and Milford.
  • SW Surrey as a constituency came into being at the 1983 general election replacing the former Farnham constituency.
  • The constituency has been in Conservative hands for decades. Current MP is Jeremy Hunt (since 2005). 1984 - 2005 Virginia Bottomley. 1966 - 1983 : for Farnham constituency - Maurice Macmillan (son of Harold Macmillan prime minister)

WEY HEALTHY
Waverley, which covers much of the Wey Valley, boasts one of the healthiest populations in England (July 2009). A Department of Health profile has shown the borough to have high life expectancies, low poverty levels and fewer obese children than the rest of the country. Over 82,000 people (70.4%) are among England’s least deprived people, early deaths from cancer or strokes are lower than the national average and have steadily fallen since 2001, women breastfeeding is above average, teenage pregnancy rates are low, as are the number of mothers smoking during pregnancy.

The downside however is that almost 1,900 children in the borough are living in low-income households and one in five adults is obese, one in seven binge drink and one in six smoke. Source: Surrey Advertiser 10th July 2009

WEY UNAFFORDABLE
The National Housing Federation released statistics (July 2009) showing that the average price of a house in Waverley Borough is now £401,779 against which they have made the comparison that the average salary in the borough has dropped to £26,104. This makes the gap between the average wage and average house among the highest in the whole region. The figures highlight the dilemma facing the area in that affordable housing is desperately needed but at the same time the population density is already squeezing wildlife habitats and open spaces.

"With a dire shortage of affordable housing in rural communities, young families are finding it harder and harder to stay in the village where they grew up, or have family and friends," said Simon Nunn, National Housing Federation South Region. "As they are priced out of their local community, and the proportion of the economically active residents dwindles, local services such as schools, shops and pubs reached breaking point."

The National Housing Federation represents 1,200 not for profit housing associations in England. Source: Surrey Advertiser 24th July 2009

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT US

WEY VALLEY MADNESS:
THE WOBBLY HILL RACES

HORSE-DRAWN IONA

"At Tilford bridge they are met by the Farnham river, where together they form so considerable a body of water as within a few miles to become navigable, viz: at the town of Godalming; & there take the name of Wey." Diary entry by Gilbert White - 23rd November 1790. The Natural History of Selborne 1768 - 1793

A Rich Resource

Widely considered to be an area of considerable natural beauty the Wey Valley is often highlighted by the media and travel advisors as a must-see. The Wey Navigations were voted in by the public to be included in the BBC programme Seven Man Made Wonders, celebrating man-made structures constructed before the 1900s, and was shown in the ten-programme series screened in the summer of 2006. The Independent newspaper recently featured the River Wey as one of their ‘50 Best Summer Walks’ and it was rated within their ’10 Best Rivers & Canals’.

“The Wey Navigation is a 20-mile stretch of waterway that meanders through some unspoilt scenery in a gorgeous green corridor of a very built-up part of Surrey. The walk follows a towpath, and along the route you may catch sight of a kingfisher or a shy water vole. For nearly 200 years the Wey Navigation route linked the area with London, until it was superseded by the railway. You’ll have plenty of opportunities for refreshments, as there are eight pubs along this stretch of the canal. Points of interest en route include Guildford Castle Keep, St Catherine’s Chapel and the Old Gunpowder Store.” The Independent 2nd July 2005

Here is the story of those people that lived, worked and even perished in its waters and along its banks. Here also is the beauty of the River Wey unveiled in an infusion of pictures and narrative, bringing to life the diversity of its wildlife and landscapes, its history and heritage, and exposing at its heart why the river and its valley has been the source of such human inspiration that literally changed the course of history.

Christiane Zschommler's fine art photo of the Wey at New Haw click on image to visit Christiane Zschommler's website
click on image to go to artist's website

A Community Site
Maintained by Volunteers

This web site has been kindly sponsored by the Wey River Freelance Community, the skill and commitment of whose members has made this project possible. Many thanks to them for giving up their time and providing their expertise for free.

Every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, but inevitably some errors will have crept in. This is a community site created and provided by volunteers and we welcome any contributions and observations so that over time we can provide a truly comprehensive resource for everyone to enjoy. We hope that the information provided here will not only give casual passers-by somewhere to stop awhile, but will also provide a source for anyone researching the Wey Valley. Please get in touch if you have anything to offer, and especially if you've spotted any factual errors.

We've included a fairly exhaustive list of useful sources to help you on your way if you are here to do some serious research. If you need any help do try us, we might just be able to help. Conversely if you find anything we could feature here please let us know. Your contribution will help others.

Wherever possible we've included map references of key places featured to help locate them when you're out and about. If you need help in deciphering them we've included a help section.

All of the many photographs featured on this site are available for commercial use under licence. We will also consider any non commercial approaches on their merits so please get in touch. Most images are also available at high resolution.

NARROWBOATS PYRFORD LOCK

GO BACK UPSTREAM TO THE RIVER

GO ON TO THE WEY NAVIGATIONS

LEARN ABOUT THE MAIN INDUSTRIES OF THE WEY VALLEY

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Supported and created by volunteers from Wey River Freelance Community Visit our nice sponsors Getting to know the river Introducing the two Navigations Transport along the Wey Navigations Industry along the Wey Valley Wildlife in the Wey Valley Places of interest in the Wey Valley The people of the valley who made names of themselves The art of the valley Climb out of the river