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Construction begins at Gennets Bridge Lock

Contractors have started work on building the shell of a new Gennets Bridge Lock, the next lock going north from the current limit of navigation, near the Surrey-West Sussex border.

The project was held up by the presence of great crested newts, a European-protected species, living in the pool formed at the old lock site. A Natural England licence had to be gained to re-locate the reptiles, and Trust members were trained to move them.

These volunteers worked each day for a month to gently “trap” the newts in sunken buckets and “re-home” them in specially dug ponds nearby. A low polythene-sheeting fence is stopping them returning to the lock site.

Project engineer Eric Walker has 30,000 bricks waiting for the next stage of the build.

The bricks will be used to line the lock walls and build a new bridge to take the Sussex Border Path over the canal at the southern end of the new lock.