Compasses Bridge Appeal
Work has started on building a new Compasses Bridge that will enable part of the Wey & Arun Canal in Surrey to be fully opened to boats for the first time in more than 150 years.
Having carried out preparatory earthworks and built a working platform of compacted clay and crushed stone, our contractors will be drilling holes into the ground and forming the concrete piles which will support the new bridge.
The piling work is due to begin on Monday, July 20, after which the actual bridge construction can start.
The new crossing of the canal is in Compasses Lane, Alfold, at one of the entrances to Dunsfold Aerodrome.
It will replace a wartime concrete causeway which is now the only major obstacle to navigation on one-and-a-quarter miles of the canal between Tickner’s Heath in Dunsfold and Fast Bridge on the A281 at Alfold. Silt clearance and bank reprofiling has already taken place along most of this stretch of the canal.
Work on the bridge – expected to take about six months – is being done with the co-operation of aerodrome owners Dunsfold Park and local landowners. Newsletters giving regular updates on the project are being circulated to people living nearby.
Over next winter, Trust volunteers will prepare the site for the road into the aerodrome complex to be realigned. Contractors will return to do this in spring 2016, followed by the partial demolition of the causeway.
The Trust is aiming to reopen the canal between Tickner’s Heath and Fastbridge in 2016, in time for the 200th anniversary of the Wey & Arun Junction Canal being declared open at the Compasses site in September 1816. The regenerated Surrey section will bring more opportunities for Trust boat excursions and boating events.
So far more than £430,317 – 61% – has been raised towards the £700,000 cost of the restoration project. The Trust is stepping up its fundraising efforts, to attract donations and find grants, to ensure the project can be completed in time for the 200th anniversary.
If you can help with a donation, money can be given online through credit and debit cards via the Donate Now button on the home page. Donations can also be sent to the Treasurer via the WACT Northern Office, Bridge End, Somerswey, Shalford, Guildford GU4 8EQ.
If you know of a possible source of grant money, please contact WACT Fundraising Officer Rob Searle on email@example.com or via the Northern Office.