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Along The Wey & Arun Canal – January 2017

Published on: 28 Jan, 2017
Updated on: 28 Jan, 2017

A regular update from the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a charity restoring the waterway which once ran 23 miles from Shalford to Pallingham in West Sussex. The Trust has established the Hunt Nature Park, where the canal route meets the River Wey, as part of its aim to create a green corridor for wildlife and recreation.

Canoeists, kayakers and paddleboarders are now welcome on the sections of the canal which have been restored for navigation – with the first Surrey section becoming available soon.

The Trust has made it easier to access the waterway at Loxwood in West Sussex by installing two new landing stages.

Inexperienced paddlers in particular will now find the three-plus miles of waterway more accessible.

The stages have been built using a generous grant from Canoe England, which is part of British Canoeing, the national governing body for paddlesports in the UK.

They are next to the Drungewick slipway and near Drungewick Lock, at the southern limit for navigation on the canal to the east of Loxwood village.

Members of the British Canal Union enjoying a day out on the Wey& Arun Canal at Loxwood.

Trust volunteer engineer Brian King collaborated with Canoe England to design the landing stages, which are made of oak with stainless steel fixings and an anti-slip surface.

Brian is now working with Canoe England to select other sites for upgraded landing stages to further improve the experience for paddlers.

The chairman of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, Sally Schupke, said: “The canal is for everyone who enjoys the countryside and we are keen for canoeists, kayakers and paddleboarders to use our restored sections in West Sussex and Surrey.

“As well as the Loxwood section, more than a mile of canal on the Summit Level will soon be available and we welcome paddlers who want to have a day out there.”

The new section is between Tickner’s Heath on the edge of Dunsfold and the A281 at Alfold, with the recently built Compasses Bridge at its centre.

Members of Canoe England and British Canoeing can use the canal free of charge, but must notify the Trust when they intend to visit. Other paddlers can purchase an annual licence for £15 or a day licence at £5 online via the boat licences page at www.weyarun.org.

Group rates are available for organisations such as the scouts and sea cadets.

All visits must be arranged in advance to avoid congestion, and all paddlers must book in at the canal centre, off Loxwood High Street before setting out on the waterway.

Further up the canal route at Hunt Nature Park in Shalford, the volunteer team led by lengthsman Mike Hobbs has extended the osier bed to allow the planting of a further row of willows.

The ‘whips’ has been protected with a plastic mesh and chicken wire fences to protect the new plants from being eaten by deer and rabbits.

Having served its purpose as a base for groups building the park’s viewing platform and creating new paths along the Cranleigh Waters stream, the Trust’s work compound alongside the A281 Horsham Road has been removed.

Advanced planning is now taking place for a small visitor/information centre on the site. An application for planning permission will soon be made to Guildford Borough Council.

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