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THE WEY & ARUN CANAL
'London's Lost Route to the Sea'
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NEW CANAL CENTRE FOR THE WEY & ARUN CANAL TRUST.

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust are delighted to announce that the new Canal Centre at Loxwood, West Sussex, will be officially opened at 12.30pm on Sunday 1st April 2012.

Mr Mike Coleman, Chairman of West Sussex County Council, will be cutting the ribbon. The new centre has been designed and built by Fordingbridge plc of Fontwell, West Sussex. The building is all part of the Trust's aim of "Getting Green" and follows on from the launch of the public trip boat "Wiggonholt", which is electrically powered. The Canal Centre uses timber from sustainable sources with intelligent lighting and an iconic curved green roof planted with sedum. High levels of insulation and efficient methods of heat capture and retention will ensure minimal energy use.

The centre will provide information about the canal restoration project as well as local information and will greatly improve facilities for the visitors to the canal and passengers on boat trips. The cost of building has been generously donated by a keen member of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust who wanted to play his part in the success of the restoration project. "The Canal Centre should reflect the achievements of the Trust over the years and promote the environmental benefits of the canal".

A generous contribution to funding of the Canal Centre came from the family of dedicated Trust volunteer Tim Jolly, of Horsham, who died in 2010 at the age of 62. Tim dedicated a large part of his life to the canal restoration project and especially to publicity. During the Summer, he spent nearly every weekend at Loxwood, welcoming visitors and sharing his enthusiasm for the canal.

Chairman Sally Schupke said "Loxwood is one of the showpiece sites on our canal and for a long time we have wanted a more presentable building where we could welcome visitors. Last year there were over 10,000 passengers on boat trips, plus many times more who simply came to enjoy the peaceful canal banks. We are immensely grateful to our members and supporters who have helped to make our dream a reality."

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust

The 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal was built between 1813 and 1816 to link the Rivers Wey and Arun, thus forming an inland barge route between London and the south coast in order to provide a safe inland route for military supplies to the fleet in Portsmouth. However, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became a largely agricultural canal, carrying goods including coal, chalk, lime and farm produce. The coming of the railways finally sealed the canal's fete, the waterway being abandoned in 1871.

Since 1971, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, has been working to re-open navigation along the waterway and, once fully restored, to again link Littlehampton on the south coast with the River Thames via the River Wey.

For further information please contact Sally Schupke 01483 560543 (daytime) or mobile 07771 923368. Photos are available - please indicate what type of photo you would like. email: sas@weyandarun.co.uk


Last updated  Tuesday, 7 February, 2012
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