River Wey: Milmead Lock to St Catherine’s Lock

Milmead view of River Wey whilst eating lunch

Milmead view of River Wey whilst eating lunch

It was a lovely day, I have not walked along the River Wey for at least a year, and so I decided as I was at Debenham’s having lunch overlooking the river, I would spend the afternoon walking along the River Wey to St Catherine’s Lock.

I could have gone to the market first, but not wishing to carry anything, I decided to walk along the river then catch the market on my return.

Old Water Mill

Old Water Mill

I passed by the Water Mills, now housing a water turbine. I noticed generating 20kW.

There has been a water mill on this spot since before the Normans arrived

Guildford Boat House

Guildford Boat House

I was surprised to see the Guildford Boat House lying derelict and up for sale. This has always been popular for hiring rowing boats. It belongs or did to Hoseasons, and no doubt not profitable and they sell. It is for sale as a site for commercial development, though it is in a floodplain and within a conservation site. Any attempt to redevelop must be strongly opposed.

Passing by the foot bridge that passes over the river route of the Pilgrim’s Way idiots with moronic music blasting out.

There used to be a ferry here before the footbridge was built. The ferry was before my time, but I remember the landing stage.

A little stream emerges here. Wonderful drinking water.

Not far from St Catherine’s Lock, I met an artist, at least when we chatted I learnt he was an artist from Godalming. He had copies of old pictures of the River Wey. I asked where these were from. He said they were postcards. He collects old postcards of the locality. But more than collects, he researches their history. He told me of one sent in 1915, a Canadian soldier stationed outside Godalming, that he had sent home to Canada. Because he had his name and army number, he was able to find out more. Sadly the soldier was killed a month later at Ypres.

What my new found artist friend was doing was trying to locate on the river the views of the postcards. We managed to locate, though he knew already. He will then paint the scenes. What he then hopes to do is mount an exhibition, where each painting will have alongside the history of the postcard.

I suggested talk to Amy at Guildford Institute. He said he had thought of Godalming Museum. As we parted company, I thought of Cafe Mila in Godalming.

The paintings will be watercolours or washed pen and ink. He said they will be mounted and framed. I pleaded, please do not cover with glass. He said that is usual. I said yes, and why, as cannot see due to refection. He then told me traditionally watercolours were not exhibited. They were in a book. Yes, Victorian ladies with their portfolio, a book of watercolours.

He was planning on meeting a friend and eating in Guildford. I said not The keystone. He said he was aware, and we both agreed how tragic a once excellent pub had gone downhill.

Whilst we were talking, a dog slammed into me. I have never known a dog, not looking  where it is going and run into someone.

It was then a short walk to St Catherine’s Lock. Now almost five o’clock. Forget market and other things I came to Guildford for.

I sat on the lock gate watching fools piloting narrow boats. One fool rammed into a post before the lock. They then left without shutting the bottom gate. The reason for shutting the bottom gate, the top gate leaks. do not waste water, it fills the lock.

I would then have walked back but headed along a track into Shalford Water Meadows. I was shocked, It used to be open grass, possible to walk down to a branch of the River Wey. I have done so in the past, sat on the bank, reading a  book. Now due to lack of grazing impenetrable  thicket.

I walked along the track, assuming it led into Shalford. It did not, it wound back to the river and ended in a dead end at the back of the lock keepers house, or maybe more correct, the weir keepers house. I was back to the river. I walked along, over the weir, then found I was walking alongside a branch of the river downstream. Only for a short way, it then diverged, I was walking through the water meadows on boards,then it went up a hillside to Shalford.

I went back down, this time walked back along the river to the lock.

It was then back to Guildford.

By now, it was early early evening.

I made a train at 1900 from Guildford Station ten seconds before the train left.

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