Walks to offer new perspective on canal heritage.
Canal cruises will no longer be the only way to gain an insight into the history of the Wey & Arun Canal with the launch of a new guided walk programme.
From April this year, the Wey and Arun Canal Trust (WACT) will be offering a guided walk each month from the Canal Centre in Loxwood, West Sussex, to give visitors a chance to find out more about the canal and the area the waterway passes through.
The programme will start on Tuesday 23 April with a 1 mile walk (Walk 1) that will head off on the canal towpath towards Brewhurst Bridge before taking in the church, old school, the site of the toll house and the Onslow Arms in Loxwood. As well as learning more about the history of the canal, the Loxwood Link and restoration work on the waterway, walkers will also learn more about the history of the village of Loxwood itself and include a visit to Brewhurst Mill. This walk will be repeated on Thursday 18 July.
The other walks planned include a 2.5 mile route (Walk 2) that will take place on Wednesday 22 May and Tuesday 20 August and a 3.5 mile walk (Walk 3) that is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 19 June and Wednesday 18 September.
Similar to Walk 1, both of the longer routes will include sights and history of Loxwood, Brewhurst Mill and details of the history of the canal, the Loxwood Link and restoration work on the waterway. Walk 2 will also take in the new lock and road crossing at Loxwood, Devil's Hole Lock and the Old Wharf building, among other local sights. Walk 3 will take visitors further north of Devil's Hole Lock to include visits to Southlands Lock where new lock gates have recently been installed and nearby Gennets Wood.
The cost of the walks is £4 per head with groups limited to 20 people, so booking is recommended. The meeting time for each of the walks is 10am at the Canal Centre, with the walk starting at 10.15am. Places can be booked by emailing the Canal Centre - firstname.lastname@example.org or 'phoning 01403 753999.
Please contact the Canal Centre for more details.
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.