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The Countryside Afloat/Drungewick Diary
A twice-yearly Review of recent events

Previous issues

January 2003

  CONTENTS
Construction
  More Slipways
  More Opening
  More People
  More Cost
  More Residents
  More Get in touch
Contact the Trust. More
 

At long last the whole of the Drungewick Crossing is almost complete! PIanning to get the canal over the River Lox and underneath Drungewick lane began over ten years ago, in 1992, when it was brightly assumed that the job could be knocked off in about four or five years - unfortunately this proved not to be the case.

You will recall that the operation was tackled in three parts - first the Drungewick Lane Canal Bridge, which our contractors, Geoffrey Osborne Ltd. of Chichester, started in August 2000 but could not complete until February 2001 thanks largely to appalling floods which swept through the site on at least half a dozen occasions. Then, in view of the Foot & Mouth Disease threat in the Summer of 2001, the formal opening of the Bridge by Sir Neil Cossons OBE had to be postponed from May until September 200l. However, there was a bit of a silver lining to this because the postponement meant that when Sir Neil did reach the site he was able to inspect also the Heavy Plant Crossing which had been constructed that Summer to enable the Environment Agency to access its nearby Gauging Station on the River Lox with major items of equipment etc. And now the third and finaI part of the Drungewick Crossing is close to completion, the Aqueduct built by Burras Groundworks of Hayling Island under contraact to the Green Construction Group. Work started early in May 2002, slightly ahead of schedule, and the contractors moved out in mid-August having experienced only one flood. Since then the structure has been waterproofed by specialists, which appeared to involve painting it in some rather gaudy colours (pink and yellow were reported to your colour-blind Editor). For the last few months WACT's volunteers have been building up the adjoining banks of the canal, including providing the new public bridleway across the aqueduct and up the slope to emerge in Drungewick Lane beside the Bridge. Work in prospect includes the installation of rubbing strakes along the walls (so that boats bump into timber rather than concrete) and erecting guard rails beside the towpath as it crosses the Aqueduct. Final landscaping of the site is also necessary. The volunteers now look forward to next Spring when water from the existing 1.5 mile Loxwood Link will be admitted to the Aqueduct and on into the canal beyond it. It is hoped that Eric Walker, who has superintended all stages of the Drungewick Crossing's construction on behalf of the Trust, will be on hand to let the water flow.

Alongside construction of the aqueduct the Trust is now planning to build twin slipways to permit craft to enter and leave the canal from the winding hole just North of the aqueduct. One slipway is to permit larger boats to be hauled up for servicing etc, while the steeper one is intended for the launching and recovery of small boats such as can reach the canal by trailer. Access to the slipways is to be from a track leaving Drungewick Lane at the foot of the little hill down from Drungewick Hill Farm, which will be known as Roger Dimmick Road in memory of the great waterway enthusiast who left a legacy to enable this facility to be built. Another job to be tackled as soon as possible is the creation of a winding hole below Drungewick Lock so that boats can turn there. At present the Trust's 30 seater trip boat Zachariah Keppel (50 feet long) would be unable to do this although the 12 seater John Smallpeice (23 feet) can turn quite comfortably almost anywhere on the canal. Of course, in order for boats to transit Drungewick Lock it is necessary for it to be gated and a generous (though anonymous) supporter has kindly funded these gates which have been ordered and should be instaIled around March/April 2003.

 

 

  CONTENTS
Construction
  More Slipways
  More Opening
  More People
  More Cost
  More Residents
  More Get in touch
Contact the Trust. More
 

Because quite a number ofthe Trust's members had to miss the ceremony to open the Drungewick lane Canal Bridge which was heId on a Thursday, this time the formal Opening wilI be on Saturday 31 May 2003. It would have been tempting fate to arrange such an event much earlìer in the year. The Aqueduct will be declared open by Dr Dave Fletcher CBE, the recently retired Chief Executive of Brítish Waterways, and all readers of this Newsletter are cordially ínvited to attend the event whích is expected to start at noon. Subject, as ever, to the Clerk of the Weather, there should be ample parking space very close to the Aqueduct. If you would like up to date details of the arrangements, then please telephone the Office O1403 7524033 or check our website (www.weyandandarun.co.uk) nearer the time

As by far the largest project yet tackled by the Trust in restorìng the 23 miIe Wey & Arun Canal, it is worth recalling that a great many people, both within the Trust and outside have contributed massively to this Crossing. To start wìth both West Sussex County Council and Chichester Distríct Council cooperated fully with the Trust during the planning stages, thus símplìfyìng what could have been a complex procedure. Most of the design work was undertaken by Tony Gee & Partners, who have generously supported WACT's work for many years. WhiIe WACT does have a long lease on this section of the canal, it is only right to record the Trust's thanks to the landowner concerned, Peter Foulger, who, while he may be our Chairman, stìIl put up with a lot of last minute requests for help of one sort or another, and always came up smiling. The contractors also played their part, Geoffrey Osborne Ltd. on the Bridge and the Green Construction Group together with Burras Groundworks at the Aqueduct. A word too, íf I may, for Richard JuIian of SeIsey who undertakes many tasks for WACT along the canal and was the prìncipal contributor to building the Heavy PIant Crossing.

So what did it all cost? For the Bridge the total came to almost £318,OOO. The Heavy Plant Crossing ran an out at rather over £20,OOO. While there may stíll be a few odd bills to come for the Aqueduct, the Treasurer's latest estimate ís £276,OOO. Thus altogether the Drungewick Crossíng has cost well over £600,OOO. And who paid for all this work?. Well, basìcally, YOU DID. There were two major contributions from LandfiIl Tax by UK Waste, which now comes under the Bíffaward scheme. We aIso enjoyed grants hom the InIand Waterways Associatìon and a number of Charitable Trusts ìncluding the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Manìfold Trust, the Esmee Fairbain Foundation, the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, the Idlewild Trust, the Davìd Wadham Charìtable Trust and the Forty One Trust Commercial supporters included Messrs C Brewer & Sons and HITEK Calibration Servìces. The Heavy plant Crossìng was completely funded by the Countrysíde Agency as admínistrators of the LocaI Heritage Initìatìve in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Nationwide BuiIding Society's Communìty Award. Funds raìsed ín memory of our sadly míssed members Greg Henke, Gordon Parker and Jack Pocock all swelled the total. But the biggest contributors were the Trust's members and individual supporters through the annual 'Poddle' sponsored walks the 25K Club, the Restoration Fund and ìndividual donations. To eveybody who contributed the Trust's Directors wish to record their most sincere thanks.

Also, we appreciate that, partìcularly during the building of the Bridge and Aqueduct, there has been a good deal of extra traffic along the Lane, whìch was in fact closed for some six months when the Bridge was being constructed. The Trust would like to acknowledge the patìence dispIayed by local residents, and to thank them for their forbearance.

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH
The Trust is always happy to hear from those interested in the canal and its restoration. Our Office is manned every weekday morning from 0900/1300, with an answerphone available at other times, so please do not hesitate to get in touch on 01403 752403.

Thank you again for your support, and if you require any further information about the canal and its ongoìng restoration pleasae contact us on 01403 752403.

 

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Last updated June 2004