The Wey Navigations (National Trust)


AINA Representative: Mr John Gibson - Navigation Manager

Dapdune Wharf
Wharf Road

Telephone: 01483 561389
Fax: 01483 531667


Constitutional status 

Owned and managed by the National Trust. The Navigation Manager reports to the Area Manager who in turn reports to the Regional Director.

Description of navigation

A river navigation capable of taking craft up to 13ft 10ins beam. Mainly rural in nature with urban areas around Guildford and Weybridge.

A brief history of the navigation

The River Wey & Godalming Navigations, running from Godalming to the Thames, is one of the earliest river navigations in Britain , built in 1653, one hundred years before the ‘canal age’.

The navigable limit of the Wey was extended in 1764 with the building of the Godalming Navigation. Together the river Wey & Godalming Navigations have been very important to the economic development of the Wey valley and have a rich history.

In more recent years the waterway has become an important resource for wildlife and recreation and the navigations now require careful management if their wildlife, landscape, historical and recreational values are to be maintained.

Current situation and use


The National Trust manages the Wey Navigations according to three guiding principles:

  • To comply with the Acts of Parliament of 1670 and 1760 which established the responsibilities of the Commissioners for the Wey & Godalmind Navigations, in particular the waterway in a navigable condition
  • In accordance with the general principles of the National Trust as provided within the National Trust Acts of 1i907 and 1937, to preserve the Wey & Godalming Navigations for the benefit of the nation, including the preservation of their natural aspect, features, animals and plant life, buildings and structures of architectural or historic interest, and the promotion of access
  • To enable quiet and varied enjoyment of the waterway by the public.

A statement of policies for management of the Wey & Godalming Navigations was put together following a detailed consultation of users, neighbours, statutory authorities and representative bodies. Copies are available from the Navigations Office.

Plans for the future

As part of the Property Management Plan 2004, the National Trust’s Vision and Long Term Aims for the property are:

Vision: National Trust vision for the River Wey & Godalming Navigations:

To protect, manage and operate this special and unique waterway into the future, preserving and conserving the historical and natural environment of the navigations, maintaining their wide diversity of appeal and interest by involving and connecting with the local community, users and visitors.

Long Term Aims:


  • Maintain the property as an operating waterway
  • Establish a balance between the historic waterway and the demands of modern usage
  • Influence, improve and refine water level management systems


  • Preserve the distinctive and unique character, heritage and landscape of the waterway as a river navigation, ensuring it is maintained and protected as a tranquil, peaceful, country lane.
  • Monitor the availability and quality of water supplies
  • Conserve the variety of habitats of nature conservaton values

Property & Estate

  • Promote sustainable maintenance and care of land, buildings and structures according to good conservation and environmental practice
  • Protect landscape, historic character and features that affect the waterway from inappropriate development

Access & Recreation

  • Promote, manage and develop the waterway as a public amenity, especially for local users
  • Reach out and work closely with waterway users, local authorities and agencies to build strong mutually beneficial relationships
  • Preserve facilities that promote traditional activities and support access

Interpretation and Learning

  • Promote a strong positive image of the value of the waterway as a heritage, recreation and environmental asset to deepen public interest, understanding, awareness and appreciation, generating support for operations and management
  • Broaden appeal and deepen interest through development of the archive resource
  • Develop education and learning experiences to present the waterways as a unique asset to enhance visitor enjoyment, knowledge and appreciation


  • sustain the waterway on financially self-sufficient basis
  • develop revenue and capital streams from new sources, working in partnership with waterway users, local authorities, agencies and other organisations

How we consult with our users

To be completed.

How we are structured

To be completed.

Navigation statistics

Length/area of waterway

9.65kms of canal and 22.53kms of river

Number of locks

14 locks
2 flood gates (normal conditions both sets of gates left open)


River Wey Navigation River Thames-Guildford

Godalming Navigation Guildford - Godalming


21.8m (71ft 6ins)

21.8m (71ft 7ins)


4.25m (14ft)

4.2m (13ft 10ins)


0.9m (3ft)

0.75m (2ft 6ins)


2.15m (7ft)

1.85m (6ft) at Broadford Bridge

Boating statistics

12 month period – 2007
Licences/Registrations - Long Term




Privately owned



Hire – day boats



Hire – overnight stay/timeshare



Hire – trip boat/ restaurant/passenger



Hire – hotel



Other business/charity boats



Requirements for boating

Boat Safety Scheme


Third Party Insurance