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The "Poddle".

An unbroken series of 40 annual sponsored walks - this is the proud boast of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's "Poddle" organisers. This year's walk takes place on Sunday, 10th June.

The organisers plan a different route each year and always try to include a part of the canal route. This could be a section where the Trust's restorers have been active or one that has been virtually untouched for over a century. The canal route runs through some of the most attractive parts of the Surrey and Sussex countryside.

The Poddle route is never more than 15 miles and there is always a lunch stop somewhere around the halfway point where walkers are welcome to a free lunch. Transport can be arranged for any walker who wishes to return from the lunch stop to the start/finish point. Every 3 miles or so there is a refreshment point offering squash or water.

The Poddle's route this year will start and finish at the newly refurbished North Hall in Loxwood, West Sussex and briefly pass beside the canal on the way to the lunch stop at Kirdford Village Hall, a distance of about 8 ?miles. The homeward leg winds through Ifold before joining the canal just north of Southland Lock. Here walkers will have a chance to see the progress of the Trust's latest major rebuilding effort. From Southland the route follows the towpath to the restored Devil's Hole Lock. The whole walk is slightly over 14 miles.

If you would like to join the walk and raise money towards the restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal, please telephone 01403 752403 or email office@weyandarun.co.uk.

A sponsorship form is available for download here. And you can still support the work of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust by sponsoring "the last man" even if you don't want to join the walk itself.

Editor's note:

This will be the Trust's 40th annual sponsored walk intended to raise funds for the canal's restoration. The first was back in 1973 over a route including Alfold and Rowner. There were 16 walkers and the event brought in some £50 (which must have been worth quite a lot more if considered at 2012 values). By way of comparison, last year's Poddle, which took place in the worst weather that the event had experienced for many years, involved 181 entrants and raised some £11,100. This remains WACT's biggest public fundraising event of the year.

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 fate, 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  Saturday, 14 April, 2012
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