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'London's Lost Route to the Sea'

Gunpowder store and flour mill provide 2011 Heritage Weekend attractions.
Shalford Gunpowder Store can be viewed by the public for the first time ever.

The Wey and Arun Canal Trust will be inviting visitors to two historic buildings that are not normally open to the public during the 2011 Heritage Open Weekend in September.

On September 10th, the Trust will welcome visitors to the Gunpowder Store, Stonebridge Wharfside, Shalford, near Guildford, Surrey. This will be the first time that the Gunpowder Store, which is normally used by automotive design company Gordon Murray Design, has been opened to the public. The 19th-century building, a timber structure raised up from the ground on stones for safety reasons, was used for storing gunpowder, manufactured at the nearby Chilworth mills, before it was loaded onto barges for transport to Portsmouth via the Wey & Arun Canal. There will be displays on the history of the Wey & Arun Canal. Doors will be open from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 10 September.

Managing Director of Gordon Murray Design, Huw Owen, said: ""We are delighted to support this event".

As part of this significant event, on 10 September the Wey & Arun Canal Trust will be hosting a guided walk at 3pm, starting from the Gunpowder store, and following part of the old route of the Wey & Arun Canal, via Tannery Lane Bridge (the only roving bridge built on the canal), Gosden Aqueduct and finishing at the old Bramley railway station. The length of the walk is approximately 2 miles (3.2km). Bookings for the guided walk from Guildford Tourist Information Centre on 01483 444333 or e-mail tic@guildford.gov.uk.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust would like to acknowledge the valued assistance of Gordon Murray Design and the National Trust.

The second historic building to be opened to the public for the National Heritage Weekend is Brewhurst Mill, in Loxwood, West Sussex. This too will be open on Saturday 10th September 2011, from 11am to 4pm. Brewhurst Mill was formerly a flour mill, and the machinery for grinding the wheat to produce bags of flour can be clearly seen. Originally the mill was powered by water from the adjacent river, but in later years a locally-designed oil engine, which has been restored by the mill owner, drove the mill. There will be displays, including an exhibition from the Sussex Mills Group, plus gift stall and teas.

Visitors to the mill may park in the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's car park located behind the Onslow Arms pub on the B2133 main Loxwood Road and then it is a short walk to the Mill via the canal towpath and Brewhurst Lane. Please follow the signs. Further details from website www.weyandarun.co.uk

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  Sunday, 19 June, 2011
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