New Haw

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Bates Walk

'Old Loading Place' Some hundred yards from New Haw Lock, on the non-towpath side, is the residential area which gets its name from Bates Timber Yard which was previously here.

The Bourne

Also called Windle Brook and Hale Bourne. It partly defines the area in which Woking lies. 

Wey Navigation

Watercress Beds between Coxes and New Haw locks, where the Navigation bends first one way and then the other, there are traces of former watercress beds. The sluice which let water through under the towpath into them is still there. In the late 1940s the grower, Mr Hershey, was still to be seen and heard in the district as he pedalled his carrier bicycle with its basket of green stuff and called out 'Morning gathered!' The enterprise closed when the water was declared unfit.

Addlestone Swimming Club the waterway widens slightly and this, on the non-towpath side, was once the site of the local swimming club complete with a diving platform. Later it became the headquarters of the Addlestone Canoe Club.

New Haw Lock  most of the locks of the Wey Navigation were formerly turf sided. At either end were walls of timber, substantial enough to support massive lock gates which had to bear considerable pressure of water. But, between the gates, in the lock itself, it was sufficient if it didn't leak. The sides did not need to be vertical so earth banks were good enough. Half-height timber walls were usually built from end to end to keep barges  in line with the gates but above these the sides were sloping earth. The conventional vertical-sided lock uses less water, which is an important consideration on most canals, but water economy had seldom to be considered on the Wey. New Haw Lock was one of the last to exhibit a trace of this feature. Most of it had been rebuilt in concrete and with vertical walls but in the 1980s the towpath side of the lock still had a half-height wall of concrete with the top section just sloping earth. Now it, too, conforms to the standard pattern. Elimination of this ancient and unique feature is said to have been required in the interests of safety. When regular bargemen were the only users they knew what to expect. But users new to the Wey  expect, when in a full lock, to be able to step off their craft on to firm ground.

New Haw Wharf From early days there was an 'official' wharf at New Haw, a place provided by the Navigation at which goods could be loaded, unloaded or stored. Barges would deliver to and collect from anywhere along the waterway but at the Navigation's wharves there was usually an employee responsible for the site. Here the wharf extended some way downstream from the bridge which carries Byfleet Road over the lock. No trace of New Haw wharf remains and it may be that it lost its importance when the Basingstoke Canal opened in 1793.

New Haw Reach The straight stretch of waterway upstream from New Haw lock is notable in that it is not so much a cut as an embankment. When it was made in the early 1650s this must have been quite an ambitious undertaking with nothing but the weight of earth to hold the high bank together on the non-towpath side. Even today, when it is reinforced with steel piling, it is regarded as one of the danger spots of the Navigation. A breach here could have serious consequences for the residents of Common Lane which runs alongside. The bank itself has been at the centre of controversy at least twice. When the National Trust took over in 1964 they found that many of the occupiers of adjacent properties had, for years, been using the bank to tip rubbish and light bonfires. The first Trust manager tried to bring some order to this chaos and had a set of photographs taken showing the shacks, tyres, bins, buckets and other rubbish littering the site. He ran into strong opposition which even sought the help of the local Member of Parliament. By the 1980s the situation was little better. The Trust's neighbours, licensed only to have access to the bank, were still using it as a dump or gardening on it. Eventually the Trust cleared the entire bank, forbade any further activity there and declared it a wildlife habitat.

 


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