17.30hrs. Coronavirus Statement – River Wey & Godalming Navigations

These are unprecedented times and the National Trust Wey and Godalming Navigations has been working hard to make sure our response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic follows Government advice, in the best interests of the health of our staff and volunteers, visitors and all river users.

Until now we have done our best to maintain our sites and services as close as possible to business as usual, keeping waterways and facilities open for everyone to enjoy afloat and on foot, subject to following Government guidance on social distancing. However, following the on going announcements from the Government about the UK’s heightened response to the Coronavirus emergency, we have taken the difficult decision to introduce limits to the use of the Navigations to support the instruction to stop all non-essential travel.

We will keep these limitations under constant review in the light of the developing situation and advice from Government. Our priority is to keep our staff, volunteers, visitors and river users safe, and we will be working to make sure that everybody can get back to enjoying everything our waterway has to offer when the current restrictions are lifted.

Our lengthsmen and maintenance team are continuing to take care of the navigations for everyone during this difficult time, but on a reduced timetable and only undertaking urgent and necessary work, including managing water levels. Please keep your distance from them as they work.

Please help us by getting in touch only if it’s essential. If you do need to contact us, we encourage you to email us at riverwey@nationaltrust.org.uk

For the full Government guidance on coronavirus go to www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Thank you all for your co-operation during these very challenging times for everyone.


How will these restrictions affect powered boats?

  • We are asking the owners of all boats kept or used on our navigations not to make any journeys on their boats, other than to access essential services and facilities.
  • We will do the very best we can to keep open the essential facilities we provide (e.g. water supply and chemical toilet disposal), for those who need them. However, we will not be able to offer the sale of keys at this time other than at Thames Lock by appointment.
  • We advise river users to stay at home rather than self-isolating aboard, unless your boat is your primary residence. This is so you do not put yourself at increased risk or place additional burden upon our facilities or the emergency services.
  • Thames Lock is now closed other than for emergency boat movement, which should be communicated to the lock keeper in advance in writing. Should it be necessary for our team to operate the lock, it is essential that social distancing and other public health advice should be observed at all times, for the safety of our staff and lock users.

How will these restrictions affect self-propelled craft?

  • The public may use the Navigation in line with government guidelines for one form of exercise per day, providing that in doing so no vehicle movement is undertaken, and social distancing measures are observed at all times.
  • It should however be noted that both British Canoeing and British Rowing now strongly recommend that all activity should immediately cease on rivers and waterways until further notice.

How will these restrictions affect fishing?

  • All fishing rights are currently suspended on the Navigations until the season starts on 15th June, however this suspension is extended until further notice.

How will these restrictions affect use of the towpath?

  • The public may use the towpath in line with government guidelines for one form of exercise per day, providing that in doing so no vehicle movement is undertaken, and social distancing measures are observed at all times. Please be aware that in places the towpath is narrow, and the public will need to collaborate to keep the mandatory distance from others.

What is happening to the weir in Guildford?

  • Urgent repairs are underway on the breach at Millbrook in the centre of Guildford, and we plan to re-water this length of the navigation in four weeks’ time. We thank all river users for their patience during this time as we worked with partners to address this issue. We look forward to having the navigations back to full use when the current movement restrictions are lifted, so we can enjoy the unique combination of natural beauty and industrial heritage we are all so passionate about.

Do I still need to license my boat?

  • A reminder that boat licensing on the Wey is for a full year from January to December, so if you have a boat on the navigation it should be paid for now. Due to the current crisis we have extended the date of the implementation of the 2020 prices so if purchased before the end of April a saving can still be made. This income helps us to care for the waterway for everyone for ever.


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