Wey

    “Our vision is for a healthy and diverse catchment where all interested sectors, groups or individuals may contribute effectively towards restoring the natural environment for the sustainable use of its essential resources, whilst preserving other valued heritage assets; to benefit both people and wildlife today and in the future”.
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    Despite being in such close proximiyt to greater London, much of the Wey catchment (especially its upper reaches) is dominated by a rural landscape of pasture, woodland and wetland. The lower reaches of the catchment are more urban and include the major towns of Guildford, Weybridge and Woking. The river has two sources, the northern Wey arising from a spring in a chalk valley near Alton and the Southern Wey origianting near Liphook. The two meet at Tilford where the river then flows through a shallow valley to Godalming, then to Guildford and north over the wide floodplain of the Thames Basin Heaths to its confluence with the Thames at Weybridge. The main River Wey is fed by a number of tributaries including Cranleigh Waters, The Tillingbourne and Hoe Stream.

    This catchment is home to other features such as Frensham Ponds, Virginia Waters and lakes at Thorpe Park, as well a total of seven SSSI’s which lie wholly or partly within the corridor of the River Wey. The River Wey Navigation, Basingstoke Canal and the largely disused Wey and Arun Canal are also within this catchment.

    The catchment is sprinkled with sites of ecological interest and hosts a range of fen, marsh, floodmeadow and reedbed habitat. It acts as an important corridor for nature conservation and is home to otters, snipe and brook lamprey to name but a few. The catchment also has a rich history of modification by man with some of the earliest mills and weirs in the UK being found on this system. 

    Like all catchments, the Wey also presents many challenges. Phosphate levels are high in a number of rivers which can can lead to excessive plant growth and in turn may affect the rivers' wildlife. Sources of nutrients in this catchment include effluent from sewage treatment works and agricultural pollution. A considerable number of rivers are also designated heavily modified. Modification of these rivers including in-stream structures has led to loss of habitat diversity and the creation of barriers for fish migration. These issues and the presence of pollutants give rise to poor water quality for a number rivers, as well as varied biological quality throughout the catchment.

    This catchment partnership is being hosted by the Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of the Wey Landscape Partnership.

    Building a Partnership and Engaging Stakeholders

    Our vision is for a healthy and diverse catchment where all interested sectors, groups or individuals may contribute effectively towards restoring the natural environment for the sustainable use of its essential resources, whilst preserving other valued heritage assets; to benefit both people and wildlife today and in the future.

    River Restoration Weeks

    Each year the partnership organise a week of practical, hands on river restoration tasks across the county. This practical work can includes coppicing trees to let in more light to the river, creating in-channel berms which allow marginal vegetation to flourish and installing deflectors to encourage a mosaic of different flow patterns and habitats in the river. The works are carried out by volunteers who are able to see first-hand the sorts of challenges faced by their local river and how these can be mitigated or resolved. These events are also often held on river stretches with good public access and consequently they generate interest in local communities and can be the first step to reconnect people with rivers. 

    Engagement Events

    We try to hold Wey Catchment events as regularly as possible to inform partners of our progress and engage with potential new stakeholders, volunteers and local communities. 

    Using Data and Evidence in Catchment Planning

    To ensure that work to improve waters in the Wey Catchment was well informed by local evidence and best practice, the work of the Partnership takes account of all relevant plans and strategies active within the Wey Catchment, for example;
    Wey Valley Fisheries Action Plan, Local Development Frameworks, Local Authority Green Infrastructure Strategies, Wey Valley Landscape Character Assessment & associated HLF bid, Water Company Plans and Water Resource Management Plans.

    To view the Catchment Implementation Plan for the Wey Catchment, please click here.

    There are already a number of projects underway within the Wey catchment.

    Non Native Invasive Species Weeks

    Each year the partnership, in association with Surrey Wildlife Trust, hold a week of non-native invasive species workshops and practical work parties which focus on identification and removal of invasive species commonly seen along the Wey and its tributaries. This year work parties took place at Fox Corner, Worplesdon, and a number of workshops were held at Merrist Wood College. 

    SUDs Workshops

    Working with Woking Borough Council, the partnership is preparing to hold a number of Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs) workshops across the catchment. These will inform Local Authorities and communities about using sustainable drainage systems and how this can help alleviate flooding, improve water quality and improve urban design.

    Septic Tanks & Phosphorus Awareness Project

    We are also partners with the Septic Tanks & Phosphorus Awareness Project which is being hosted by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. The aim of this project is to produce a series of leaflets, posters, and press releases  which inform landowners  and communities about the problems caused by faulty septic tanks and generally raise awareness of phosphate issues affecting rivers.

     The WLP also received funding from Defra’s Catchment Partnership Action Fund in 2015 to complete four River Restoration projects in both Hampshire and Surrey.

    1. River Deadwater
    2. Oakhanger Stream at Shortheath Common
    3. Alton Flood Meadows
    4. Chertsey Bourne 

    Core Partners

    The Wey Landscape Partnership was formally established in 2012 primarily to improve our local waters in the catchment of the River Wey.

    Surrey Wildlife Trust presently chairs the partnership, as the landscape-scale approach to achieve this embodies our Living Landscapes vision for Surrey's most important river system. The Wey Landscape Partnership involves a steering group plus various locally or topic-focussed working groups. Our steering group is represented by the following organisations:

    ·        Surrey Wildlife Trust

    ·         Natural England

    ·         Environment Agency

    ·         Affinity Water

    ·         Thames Water

    ·         Surrey County Council

    ·         Guildford Borough Council

    ·         Woking Borough Council

    ·         Farnham Town Council

    ·         National Trust

    ·         Wey Diffuse Advice Project

    ·         Voluntary Sector/River Wey Trust

    ·         Northern Wey Trust

    ·         Wey Valley Fisheries Consultative Association

    ·         Farnham Rivers Group

    Our task groups carry out detailed and focused work which includes exploring and improving evidence as well as focusing on delivery of the actions designed to address specific issues.

    In order to better care for the River Wey, we need to understand the issues affecting the river and how they impact both on its ecological status, its economic value and  the way local people interact and enjoy it. By monitoring the river and its tributaries we begin to piece together a picture of the overall state of the catchment and we can pinpoint where issues may be arising. We can then use this information to address issues and design projects that will enhance the river for wildlife, people and businesses.    

    The Environment Agency continually monitors the river Wey and its tributaries on a rolling program. This provides a steady flow of data and indicates where the health of the river has increased or declined. The Environment Agency also responds to incidents affecting the river, such as pollution or flooding to try and minimize impacts on communities and wildlife.

    RiverSearch

    As community involvement is at the heart of the Catchment Based Approach, we have implemented a hugely successful river wardening scheme known as RiverSearch which trains local people to monitor river health by carrying out seasonal surveys on a stretch of river. RiverSearchers provide evidence to address deficiencies on river health such as pollution, barriers to fish passage and invasive non-native species. Volunteers also record river wildlife and can receive further training in botany, invertebrate, otter and water vole surveying. This network of volunteers extends over the Wey Catchment and not only monitors catchment health but also provides data to plan river restoration projects. For more information about RiverSearch, click here.

    Riverfly

    We are also working with the Riverfly Partnership to build up a network of volunteer-lead invertebrate monitoring points across the catchment. Groups of volunteers meet on a monthly basis to test the number and diversity of invertebrates found in the river which acts as an indicator of the rivers health. They also use phosphate and nitrate kits to test the levels of these chemicals in the water course. For more information about the Riverfly Intiative, click here.

    River Restoration Impacts

    We are also working with leading Universities such as Imperial College London and University College London to explore new ways of monitoring the before and after effects river restoration projects have on river ecosystems. This will demonstrate how such projects can achieve ecological restoration and inform the design of future river restoration works. 


    Wey

    Further details: Wey Landscape Partnership
    Enquiries: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Tel: 01483 663305

Thames Info

The Thames RBD covers an area of over 16,000 sq km from the source of the River Thames in Gloucestershire through London to the North Sea. Dominated by Greater London, the eastern and northern parts of the river basin district are heavily urbanised, whereas the area to the west of London has considerable areas of rural land. The Thames RBD is one of the driest in the UK, with rainfall levels below the national average, however the River Thames is an important water source, providing around two-thirds of London's drinking water. Even though it is one of the most densely populated and urbanised parts of the UK, agriculture remains one of the most important industries in the landscape. Farming varies from intensive fruit and vegetable farming to mechanised arable farming on chalk to dairy and beef farming on grassland.

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The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.
Email: info@catchmentbasedapproach.org

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