The River Wey
The River Wey is one of Britain’s oldest navigations, opened in 1653.
There are 14 locks and 20 miles of peaceful river interspersed with the towns and villages of Guildford, Send, Ripley, Pyrford and Weybridge with Godalming Wharf at the southernmost point.
The River Wey comprises of 20 miles of beautiful countryside starting at Godalming and ending at Weybridge where the Wey joins the River Thames. There is a public towpath all the way long the river for walkers but what better way to enjoy it than on a luxury narrowboat where you can take time to enjoy the peace and scenery. There are 14 historic locks, many adjacent to pretty cottages, welcoming pubs and the river passes through several villages and Guildford town centre.
Two miles along the waterway from Godalming you will see the entrance to the Wey & Arun canal, ‘London’s lost route to the sea’ which is currently undergoing restoration. The river runs through Guildford, with its 11th century castle, cobbled high street, theatres, cinemas and numerous shops and restaurants. The National Trust have owned and managed the river since 1964, continuously maintaining this beautiful and historic waterway.
The full history of the navigation can be viewed at Dapdune Wharf, the National Trust’s visitor centre. Today, the river is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, anglers and boaters all year round. Each lock is wide enough to accommodate two narrowboats so holidaying with friends or larger family groups is ideal and you have those extra pairs of hands during lock operation.
There is an abundance of wildlife on the river, as well as the adjoining 80-hectare Riverside Nature Reserve in Burpham where you may see herons, kingfishers, woodpeckers, bats, dragonflies and water voles. The mill pond at Coxes lock is also a wildlife sanctuary, home to many different species of waterfowl.
The ancient Newark Priory, RHS Wisley gardens and the 16th century mansion Sutton Place built by Sir Richard Weston (now private property) and Coxes Mill are all within easy reach of the riverbank, as well as the popular riverside pubs where you can stop for refreshments and watch the world go by.
The final lock on the Wey navigation is Thames Lock at Weybridge. The lock is operated by helpful National Trust staff and an ideal place to continue your journey onto the river Thames towards Windsor and beyond. Or turn around and retrace your route back along the tranquil river Wey.
The junction with the Basingstoke canal also intercepts the river Wey. The Basingstoke canal runs for 32 miles from Greywall Village in Hampshire to Woodham in Surrey. The canal is very rural with navigation restrictions for boaters and a separate licence is required.