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Along The Wey & Arun Canal March 2017

Published on: 28 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 27 Mar, 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.

The Trust’s Hunt Nature Park at Shalford is springing to life, with birds seeking out nesting spots and amphibians turning up at the ponds ready to breed.

Indigenous trees and plants are also blooming, with beautiful displays on the May trees and spreads of Cowslips in particular.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust volunteers planting trees in Hunt Nature Park at Shalford.

Trust volunteers have planted a selection of trees and shrubs in the park, which is alongside the A281 Horsham Road at Shalford, entered via the long-distance Wey-South Path.

As well as May (hawthorn) trees and shrub types include hazel, field maple, blackthorn, wayfarer tree, spindle, yew, black poplar, white poplar, rowan, crab apple, service tree, honeysuckle, hornbeam, whitebeam and willow.

This wealth of species provides plenty of opportunities for nesting birds and also draws bees and insects to the park.

The planting and sympathetic management is all part of the Trust’s policy of restoring and managing the canal route to benefit flora and fauna as well as people.

The willow beds planted two years ago are thriving and have recently been coppiced, to encourage growth. Carpets of weed-suppressant material have also been laid across the willow beds, also to help the trees grow.

If anyone would like a bundle of withies, or willow whips for craft or decorative work please let Trust know by e-mailing northernoffice@weyandarun.co.uk. It is said the lime green coloured variety is the most attractive.

If you haven’t yet visited Hunt Nature Park, take the opportunity of some fine spring weather to explore this pleasant wildlife area. As well as a path along the Cranleigh Waters riverbank, there is a raised viewing platform with benches where you can pause for a picnic and watch the natural world go by.

Volunteers recently dismantled the work compound near the entrance to the Wey-South Path in Horsham Road. The site has been cleared in preparation for the building of a small information centre there.

The Trust is currently preparing a planning application for the building, which will be the base for guided walks and educational visits. Raised walkways will go out into the park from the centre, which it is hoped can be built this summer.

Meanwhile, things are stirring further down the canal route at Loxwood, just over the Surrey-Sussex border. There, the Trust runs its boat trips operation, on more than three miles of navigable waterway.

Special trips began on Mothering Sunday and continue with Easter Bunny Specials on Good Friday April 14, Easter Sunday April 16 and Easter Monday April 17.

Excursions laden with Easter characters depart at 11am, noon and 2pm, at just £10 per person.

Public trips begin on the weekend of April 1 and 2 with voyages ranging from 35 minutes to three and a half hours. Private charters are also available throughout the week, with boats that can carry from nine to 54 people.

Find out more about boat trips and the work of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust at www.weyandarun.co.uk.

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