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'London's Lost Route to the Sea'

Canal restoration makes progress in Surrey.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has made a start on work in two additional areas, namely Dunsfold Park and the 'Bramley Link'. The objective of the latter, since the original canal route in the vicinity of Shalford and Bramley, now no longer exists, is to establish a new route for the canal, between the River Wey in the north and a point where the original canal still exists just to the south of Bramley.

The Trust has adopted a 'Green Corridor' approach to this work, whereby great efforts are being made to enhance the existing landscape and associated eco-systems, prior to commencing construction of the canal itself.

As part of this preliminary enhancement work, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is now pleased to announce that following agreement reached with Mr Hurst, landowner in the Gosden area to the north of Bramley, two new work items will shortly commence as follows:

Restoration of Historic Allotments In the context of continuing the ecological enhancement of the future canal's 'green corridor' to the south of Tanyard Lane in Shalford parish, it is proposed that land which for some years has remained fallow, will be restored so that allotments may be provided for the community, as was the case in the early 20th century.

Archaeological Investigation of Gosden Aqueduct In order to determine the condition and engineering characteristics of this important original 19th century structure, which used to carry the Wey & Arun canal over the Cranleigh Waters, plans for an archaeological site investigation are to be developed.

Pending preparation of details for the above work, which will enable the necessary formal approvals to be sought, in the context of the Bramley Link objectives, the Chairman of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, Sally Schupke, commented: "We are delighted that with the support and active encouragement of Mr Hurst we are able to open up this exciting new area of work, in the furtherance of the Trust's long term objectives".

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust's aim is the complete restoration for navigation of the inland waterway route between the rivers Wey and Arun. Since the early 1970's the Trust's main activities have been centred on restoration of a navigable stretch of canal at Loxwood in West Sussex. The recent work at Dunsfold and Bramley is being progressed alongside the continuing restoration activities at Loxwood.

For further details about the Wey & Arun Canal Trust please call the WACT office on 01403 752403, email to office@weyandarun.co.uk or write to Wey & Arun Canal Trust, The Granary, Flitchfold Farm, Loxwood, Billingshurst, West Sussex RH14 0RH.

Notes for Editors

Information (and a selection of pictures of the work under way) is available from Bill Thomson, bill_thomson@weyandarun.co.uk, 01296 423033 / 07777 668928

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust

The Wey & Arun Canal, "London's lost route to the sea" was originally opened in 1816 between the River Wey at Shalford, near Guildford, and Pallingham, near Pulborough, the head of navigation of the River Arun. It closed in 1871, due to railway competition. Since the 1970s the 23-mile waterway has been the subject of a campaign by volunteers led by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust to restore the route to navigation. Work has been undertaken in a number of locations, most notably the stretch near the Sussex/Surrey border at Loxwood. Over two miles in length, this includes five working locks, two public road crossings, an aqueduct, two farm bridges, and numerous minor works, all built or rebuilt through voluntary effort. Boat trips are available on this stretch, onboard several craft, including the 50-seater electrically-powered Wiggonholt.

Last updated  Thursday, 24 March, 2011
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