Where the River Bends
At the end of Peperharow Road, where the River Wey makes a 90 degree turn, is a sandy place known to generations of children as ‘The Ginny’. The origin of this name is a mystery. For several decades, Charterhouse School maintained this beauty spot as a recreational facility. There was a diving springboard, a clinker-built whaler for the Sea Scouts to row in and a few wooden huts for changing in and for the storage of equipment used for various water activities. At the start of WWII, a brick blockhouse and 15 concrete tank traps were added to the site.
Each summer, come rain or shine, someone was swimming there nearly every day. The older children would venture round the bend downstream and upstream beyond the outflow to Hell’s Ditch. Surface flotsam such as dead fish and animals, even human excrement, didn’t bother us; we just swam underwater until it had passed.
A game was created with the tank traps, each having a number chalked on them and children hiding behind them. A guesser had to correctly couple the person with a number. The one using least guesses was the winner and received sweets and marbles from the rest of the players. Some cheating occurred because the traps were so positioned that moving from one to another could not be seen by the guesser out front. Six of these traps are still there.
By the late 1940s, Charterhouse School ceased their involvement with the site and all the paraphernalia disappeared. The attraction for swimmers quickly dissipated and, by 1953, myself and a pal, Tony Davey, were the only two swimming regularly.