What was everyone looking at when Moleside members on our March Walk joined a sizeable crowd already at Walsham Lock. No one has admitted that they actually saw one of these little fellows – a European Eel – but they were all admiring an attractive 21st C. addition to this 300 year old landmark on the Wey Navigation that has his best interests at heart.
All manner of fish in the canal will benefit from easier passage through the change of water height at Walsham Weir but the building of the new ladder owes much to a 15 year old European Directive that we should all be doing more to help conserve eels.
These are creatures who are born in the sea but spend most of their lives in fresh water before returning to the oceans to breed and finally die.
The UK’s 2016 decision to quit the EU did not mean an end to a project to address the obstacle to this life cycle provided by Walsham Weir and, though Covid put a temporary halt on progress, our March visit confirmed that a tidy solution has come to fruition.
Proceeding from here downstream we passed the unusually quiet site of The Anchor at Pyrford, currently undergoing substantial renovation, before striking out over the impressive golf course at Wisley, past the village church and across the River Wey itself on our way to Ockham Mill and finally back to Ripley.
And for several of the walking party the just reward for our efforts was a hearty lunch at The Jovial Sailor.
Thanks to Steve Mustoe for once again taking us to part of Surrey full of surprises, and to David Owen for his photographs.