The River Wey (northern branch) runs through the Bishop’s Meadow and the Meadow would not be what it is without its presence. The river floods the Meadow almost annually and contributes to the richness of the land and the diversity of its flora and fauna.
The River rises from a chalk aquifer near Alton, Hampshire and flows eastwards through Upper Froyle and Bentley to Farnham more-or-less parallel to the A31. At Farnham the river turns south towards Tilford where it joins the South Wey.
Much of the North Wey’s flow has been diverted or obstructed for milling, agriculture and flood defence over the years. However, despite these stresses to the river habitat, the North Wey, where it flows through Bishop’s Meadow, is reported to support a healthy mixed fishery with populations of chub, dace, roach, perchand brown trout.
Brown Trout – Salmo trutta
Chub – Leuciscus cephalus
Dace – Leuciscus leuciscus
Roach –Rutilus rutilus
Perch – Perca fluviatilis
What to find out more? Take a look at these handy websites:
Despite not being a true chalk stream (meaning a stream rising fromand flowing overchalk geology) the River Wey has many chalk stream characteristics including established communities of water crowfootand starwort.
The Meadow river is also home to a significant population of the non-native species of American Signal Crayfish. This voracious predator poses a threat to our native species of crayfish and to very young fish.
In 2012, the Wild Trout Trust (www.wildtrout.org) visited the Bishop’s Meadow and made recommendations about managing the River Wey for the benefit of fish and other wildlife. The report can be downloaded HERE.
In 2014 and 2015, the Bishop’s Meadow Trust, Surrey Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency have worked together on projects to improve the passage of fish up and downstream. This will include placing “baffles” on the weir next to the Farnham Gauging Station to allow fish to pass upstream over what is now a blockage.