BOTTOMING OUT AT DRUNGEWICK
During the winter months, the trip boat Zachariah Keppel was brought ashore at Drungewick via the new slipway.
A team of volunteers then removed and completely replaced her hull to enable her to give further useful service
for many more years to come. This major task was completed in sufficient time for her to be trialled prior to this
year's Easter Bunny Cruises.
WHAT'S GOT FOUR WHEELS AND FLIES?
Certainly not the Trust's new Landrover Defender, looking resplendent in its new coat of blue paint with the
Trust logo, name and contact details on its side. The Landrover was presented to the Trust by Harwoods of Sussex,
who have long had a close connection with the Trust's activities. It will be very useful to the Trust in its
activities. Trust Chairman, Peter Foulger, said: "We are constantly pulling trailers around with equipment
and Defenders are ideal for fulfilling the tasks we need to restore the canal. Being a voluntary organisation
we are extremely grateful for the constant generosity and support from Harwoods Landrover."
WE'RE NOT GOING BATTY AT LOXWOOD, SO IT'S FULL STEAM AHEAD
It was thought that bats might be present at Loxwood where the B2133 road crossing is to be built, so Chichester
District Council sent their bat expert to investigate. Having borrowed a ladder and climbed a number of trees,
he was able to report that there were no bats present. This was a great relief to the Trust as any bats found
could have caused a major delay in the planning application. As a consequence, the application was duly approved
on the 18th April and work commenced on this Project, pollarding the trees necessary prior to the lowering of the
pound between the road and Brewhurst Lock. In concert with this, the brewery which owns the Onslow Arms at Loxwood,
Hall & Woodhouse, was granted a planning application to remove the mound between the pub and the canal, thus
providing easier access and a better interface between the two.
Crossing the B2133 entails reducing the height of Brewhurst Lock by some 4ft 6in and lowering the pound
alongside the Onslow Arms to enable a bridge to be built below the present road level (necessary because of
line of sight problems), then building a brand new lock on the other side of the B2133 to raise the canal back
to its existing level. This is the Trust's current major project to extend the navigable length on which the
trip boats operate.
At Devil's Hole Lock, the next lock in the Surrey direction, the nearby oxbow has also been cleared, allowing
greater water storage capacity for the extended navigable length.
Restoration of the lock itself, with stop planks but minus gates, was completed in July 2004.
WINSTON WINS AT ORFOLD
Whilst work proceeded at Haybarn, some volunteers worked on completing the Orfold (or Lordings) exercise
nearby. The aqueduct has been reinstated and the lock walls rebuilt under the watchful eye of Trust member
Winston Harwood and his team.
CHECKING OUT THE BRAMLEYS
At the northern end of the canal at Bramley, where a new route is required for some 2km (1¼ miles) due to
building construction on the line of the canal in the mid part of the 20th century, the Trust is continuing to
assess the comments arising from its successful exhibition. This showed a majority of local people in favour of
a new connection to replace the lost route. Dialogue continues with the residents and a new newsletter is being
produced to keep everyone informed of progress. There is a marked preference for the river route as the new
connection, utilising Cranleigh Waters. The Wey South path through the village along the line of the old railway
track has also recently been resurfaced by Surrey County Council; this has made a real improvement to access at
NEWS FROM THE SUMMIT
At the canal summit, The Rutland Group, owners of Dunsfold Park which replaced the former Dunsfold Aerodrome,
has published its plans for future development in the area. They see the canal as an integral part of their plans
and intend to work with the Trust in restoring the summit. Their plans include the creation of new lakes from
former gravel pits, thus providing new leisure facilities and, at the same time, providing the canal with
sustainable water supply resources on the summit length. They also foresee canal moorings being established.
Where the canal is severed at Tickner's Heath on the summit level, a new bridge is being designed to reinstate
the canal at this point. Further south, the Trust is investigating the best way to restore the canal through
Sidney Wood, including a possible diversion to avoid encroaching on properties built since the canal's demise.