Wey Navigation – Stoke to Guildford Wharf

General view of Stoke lock with Beauchamp (not the electric powered one!)

The navigation passes the large Slyfield Industrial Park as it makes it way to rejoin the river by Stoke bridge. The start of the ‘flowing river’ constructed by Sir Richard Weston in 1618 was to the left of the lock.

The lock’s access road follows in part the former course of Sir Richard Weston’s Flowing River. It has been argued the lock cut from Stoke bridge to Stoke Lock was originally the start of Weston’s water management scheme and therefore this is plausibly the earliest part of the Wey Navigation – built 35 years before the main navigation of 1653.

Guildford Women’s Institute at Stoke lock in 1908.

Looking back from the Rowbarge Inn, the majestic Stoke Mill can be seen. It is not on the navigation itself as the no entry sign denotes. The navigation leads off to the left.

The approach to Guildford is quite attractive past houses and moored boats

The triple crossings at Woodbridge. Two of these are modern. The one seen here is the 1913 structure.

Plaques on the sides of Woodbridge

Dapdune railway bridge, with a glimpse of the wharf beyond

Dapdune Wharf.

Guildford Cathedral is of interest. Its a large modern structure that was begun after the second world war, but lay unfinished for years, due to lack of funds. It was eventually completed and its site on top of a hill commands a good viewpoint. The only bugbear is that its not easy to get there from Dapdune wharf!

There is a fairly direct route using Dapdune footbridge but involves a somewhat confusing route past the university residences – its not signposted.

The best way to the cathedral is perhaps to walk up the main road that runs behind the railway station or use public transport from Guildford Friary bus station.

Wey Barge at Dapdune. This is Reliance who ended her working days earlier than the other barges when she hit London’s Cannon Street bridge and sank.

Close up! The Stevens’ barges had these distinctive white sterns, although there have been one or two examples with white lettering on a black background.

The National Trust’s Dapdune Belle heading towards the hills of Guildford on one of her return trips to ‘Debenhams’ (aka Millmeads lock.) The Dapdune Belle is now complemented by the smaller See Wey.

The hills around Guildford offer great views of the surrounding countryside. Places like Windsor, Heathrow Airport. Wembley Stadium and Central London can be seen. Horsenden Hill (which is on the Grand Union Canal’s Paddington Arm) is easy to see – and one can almost visualise the boats plying the canal at its foot between Little Venice and Bulls Bridge!

The town centre moorings in Guildford.

Trincomalee II by the main road bridge in Guildford town centre July 2009.

Guildford Town wharf – the treadmill crane and the official end of the Wey Navigation. It was just about here that the Wey Navigations offices were originally sited. There was a large open courtyard for storage and several outbuildings.

At the top end was the offices proper and these fronted onto Friary Street. The bronze statuette is supposed to depict a Wey bargeman – although somehow I dont think the Wey navigators ever worked in a quantum state where their bodies passed through different dimensions of time!

The navigation offices and a large number of other historic buildings were demolished to make way for the modern road which by-passes the town centre. See more on this and Harry Stevens

See Wey, the new trip boat that runs from Dapdune to Millmeads, is seen here in her first weeks of working at Town Wharf near the Town Bridge.

Next: Guildford Mill to St Catherine’s

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

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