The River Wey Trust is a charity which was established in 1984 to coordinate historical, environmental, and wildlife conservation and management along the southern branch of the River Wey for the 'education and benefit of the public', including the creation and construction of public access where practical.
The Trust also aims to stimulate interest research and appreciation of the River and carry out and publish research relating to the River.
Major supporters of the Trust include Hampshire County Council, East Hampshire District Council, Headley, Bramshott and Liphook Parish Councils, and the Bramshott and Liphook Preservation Society; all of whom nominate Trustees.
In addition to organising work parties and projects to manage the river environs, the Trust is active in oversight of planning and development proposals impacting the river catchment area.
Funding for the Trust comes from some grants, subscriptions from Friends of the Trust, legacies, and regular events. The Charitable Status of the Trust was amended in 2018 to be come a "Charitable Incorporated Organisation" (Registered Charity Number 1177871), appropriate to the structure and operation of a small charity such as the Trust.
The Trust was launched in 1984 not only to co-ordinate conservation activity in the river valley and catchment but also to promote an organised programme of work and interpretation designed to secure understanding and the long-term survival of a unique environment.
For its first 3 years of operation the Trust ran a Manpower Services Commission scheme to carry out work and research on the River; it now has a small employed workforce and uses volunteers to help carry out its objectives. Core funding is currently provided by County and District Councils, and additional funding is raised from private, corporate and other local government sources. A small proportion of the Trust's work is carried out for payment.
The Southern Wey Catchment
The Trust is active along the Southern Wey, which runs from Haslemere (rising in Surrey and West Sussex) through East Hampshire to Tilford (in Surrey, again - this is the confluence with the Northern Wey running from Alton and Farnham).
The River runs west from the top of the Lower Greensand escarpment which bounds the Sussex Weald, producing a fast-flowing stream that runs through steep-sided valleys cut into the acid heathlands. It is also fed by tributaries including the Wagonners Wells Stream, the Hollywater Stream (draining Woolmer Forest), the Slea (which runs off the Upper Greensand hangers) and the Barford Stream (which flows in through Frensham Great Pond). This environment has generated a long tradition of exploitation - mills for at least 1000 years, ‘floated’ watermeadows engineered and managed for over 350 years - and a thriving, if vulnerable, and constantly evolving ecology.
The Trust arranges talks, tours and educational visits relating to the River valley; it has published a guidebook to the River The Southern Wey - A Guide (price £5) and issues a thrice-yearly newsletter. It provides a point-of-contact for information and problems relating to the River. It also owns and manages its own small reserves on the River at Bramshott and on the Holly Water stream..