Canoe Days Out

Surrey - River Wey - Shalford to Godalming (& return)

This page was submitted by Keith Day (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Shalford is on the A281 about three miles south of Guildford. From the centre of Shalford turn west onto the A248 towards Peasmarsh. The launching site is in about a quarter of a mile at Broadford Bridge.

For those with SatNav the postcode is GU4 8DW.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - You can park on the grass verge to the west of the bridge but as my car has low ground clearance we parked near the pub to the east of the bridge and portaged the canoe to the launch site to the north of the west end of the bridge.

General Description - This part of the River Wey is actually the Godalming Navigation, opened in 1764 to extend the Wey navigation the four miles to Godalming. Almost immediately the trip passes the National Trusts Stonebridge Wharf (formerly known as Gunpowder Wharf which marks the entrance to the Wey & Arun Navigation. Today only a short stretch (used for moorings) is navigable before you come to a length that has been infilled and built over. Further south the restoration of the Wey & Arun is well underway and there are ambitious plans to reopen this link to the English Channel at Arundal in the foreseeable future.

Following the River Wey south there are two navigation sections encompassing locks. The old course of the river remains on the left and offers some opportunity to explore before the undergrowth closes in and the inevitable wiers.

We had come prepared to portage the locks but as our arrival coincided with that of narrowboats we were able to pass through the locks with them. We have encountered no problems doing this. We ensure that we enter the locks after any narrowboats and keep well back from the front gates during the change of level. As evidence of the potential dangers however we learned that Millmead Lock in Guildford was temporarily out of action due to the gates being rammed by an out of control narrowboat.

There is a pub (The Manor Inn) at Farncombe (we saved these delights for the return journey) and a teashop at Farncombe Boat House (at Cattershall bridge) where there is also the opportunity to hire canoes and rowboats.

If you need to portage Cattershall Lock you can avoid portaging over the road by going under the bridge and exiting on the left. Godalming Wharf has been preserved by the National Trust.There is space to load or unload a canoe here but you will then need to park in Sainsburys .(see map) Although the formal limit of navigation is at Town Bridge we explored a little further where there is a park on the left and about 100 geese on the right. When you've had enough retrace your steps to the start.

The trip to Town Bridge, Godalming and back is 4.5 miles with the potential for four portages at the locks.


Godalming Navigation
The Wey & Arun Canal
Farncombe Boat House

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson