Wey & Arun Canal News
(Formerly "The Countryside Afloat")

A Review of Recent Events on the Wey & Arun Canal
May 2005
Prepared by Brian Andrews
Previous issues

May 2005

  CONTENTS
SANTA AND THE EASTER BUNNY
  More BOTTOMING OUT AT DRUNGEWICK
  More WHAT'S GOT FOUR WHEELS AND FLIES?
  More WE'RE NOT GOING BATTY AT LOXWOOD, SO IT'S FULL STEAM AHEAD
  More ON THE LEVEL AND ALL SWINGING AT HAYBARN
  More WINSTON WINS AT ORFOLD
  More CHECKING OUT THE BRAMLEYS
  More NEWS FROM THE SUMMIT
  More OUTGROWING RESOURCES
  More ANY QUESTIONS?
  More
 

SANTA AND THE EASTER BUNNY

The Santa Cruises over Christmas and the Easter Bunny Cruises at the start of the new season have once more proved very popular and worthwhile. It was a pleasure to see so many smiling faces as the children and their parents enjoyed themselves. Wey and Arun Enterprises Limited (WAEL), which operates the Cruises on behalf of the Trust, were able to donate a significant sum to the Trust's funds as a result. A special Boxing Day trip was also organised this year which also proved popular and worthwhile and is likely to be repeated.

BOTTOMING OUT AT DRUNGEWICK

zk on slipwayDuring 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?

landroverCertainly 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 4ft6in 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.

devil's hole lockAt 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.


ON THE LEVEL AND ALL SWINGING AT HAYBARN

haybarn swing bridgeWork has continued on the swingbridge installation at Haybarn, near the southern end of the canal. Now that the ex-Leeds & Liverpool Canal swingbridge is in place, attention has been concentrated on the abutment on which it rests to ensure that all is aligned and the bridge free to swing (which it does very nicely thankyou). Then the new deck had to be fitted and the handrails put in place. All is now set for an official opening sometime in July. Much thanks is due to all the volunteers that have made this project such a success.


WINSTON WINS AT ORFOLD

lordings aqueductWhilst 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 (1 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 this point.

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.

OUTGROWING RESOURCES

For many years, the Trust has held its AGM at North Hall in Loxwood. With membership fast approaching 2000 however, it was apparent that this was now too small to accommodate the number attending. A new venue thus had to be found, which, for 2005, was the Arun Room of Pulborough Social Centre. The Trust's EGM later in the year will be in Cranleigh.

ANY QUESTIONS?

If you would like to know more about the Wey & Arun Canal, whether in respect of its history or of its ongoing restoration, do please contact the Trust's Office at -
Wey & Arun Canal Trust,
The Granary, Flitchfold Farm,
Loxwood, Billingshurst
Telephone: 01403 752403
Fax: 01403 753991
Email:
office@wact.org.uk

 

 
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