How to get there - Take the A3 to Guildford and find Stoke Road heading north/south (see map). Go north over river (ignoring the mini roundabout at the A3 junction) and at next roundabout, turn left into Stoughton Road. Take first left into Maple Grove and follow to the end. Turn right and in 50 yards turn left into the Waterside Centre.
For those with SatNav the postcode is GU1 1LW.
Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site - I have previously launched across the green area next to the pub (the Rowbarge) but they have now erected fencing that makes this more difficult so this time I started from the Waterside Centre which is 50 yards to the right along Riverside. This is the home of the Wey Kayak Club.
Description - Set off to the right, towards Guildford. The first stretch passes the backs of houses on the right and countryside to the left. You will be aware of traffic noise from the A3 which gets loader as you pass under the A3 bridge. Peace returns at Dapdune Wharf, the local HQ of the National Trust who own and operate the navigation.
The next stretch passes the backs of light industrial units and then shops and offices as you approach Guildford town centre. Of interest is the Electric Theatre (it used to be the Electricity Works) and the treadmill operated crane at Town Wharf. At the centre of Guildford the buildings change to pubs and cafes which face the river.
Portage Millmead Lock by passing to the right of the lock island and portaging across the island just before the weir.
The river passes through parks before returning to the countryside. After a mile or so the river forks. The right fork is the navigation to St Catherine`s Lock whilst the left fork is the old course of the river. I went left and found a secluded spot for lunch. I explored as far as Riff Raff Weir (where the river rejoins the navigation) If you are feling energetuic you can portage but I returned to the fork and took the other fork to St Catherine`s Lock. I turned here and retraced my steps to the start, making a trip of seven miles with two portages.
Comments on this trip
Paul Megson 26 Oct 2016
I recently paddled this stretch on a siton kayak, following the natural weir from below St Catherine's Dock to RiffRaff Weir. I took it upstream so that if I met strong currents and eventually a hard obstacle, I would have the comfort of knowing my retreat would be down stream. In fact there were no obstructions that a kayak or canoe couldn't pass the tightest point was perhaps 810ft wide where a fallen tree had narrowed the passage. Might have been different though if the water level was a couple of feet higher.I came ashore just short of the weir to its left by climbing up some tree roots which make a convenient ladder, and portaged back to the Navigation. I did however notice a "beach" closer to the bottom of the weir which was wide enough for one kayak/canoe at a time.It's worth noting that the river bank is generally at least a foot and often 2 or more feet above water level so boarding or alighting a siton kayak or a canoe is feasible, but a sitin kayak with a tight cockpit would be quite a challenge to do without capsizing, and paddling any distance here definitely requires a few entries and exits. if the water level was indeed much higher, I suspect the river would be too swollen to be safe.
Richard Llewellyn 06 Oct 2013
We did this trip at the weekend, but port aged the weir and used the river which was a lovely stretch of water. We started by the pub. There is a way through the fence to the left of the pub garden where we easily managed to carry our kayaks to launch. Canoes may be harder, but should be possible. We didn't meet the publican, but have heard word that previous landlords hadn't been too keen on kayakers launching through the pub garden,so we erred on the side of caution and took the launch mentioned.