Fringe Box



Along The Wey & Arun Canal – May 2016

Published on: 11 May, 2016
Updated on: 11 May, 2016

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.

Wild garlic is flowering in the Trust’s Hunt Nature Park at Shalford, so it’s an opportunity to harvest the pungent leaves.

Along the Wey & Arun CanalA large bucket full has already been collected, with the aroma wafting down the riverside path as it was taken back to the nearby WACT Northern HQ.

It has been made into wild garlic pesto, which knocks you for six when the jar lid is opened. The pesto is the first product in the “Hunt Park Originals” range of foods that will be produced and it’s now out for consumer testing.

Hunt Park lengthsman Mike Hobbs has spotted a lot of large bird droppings on the banks of the Cranleigh Waters stream and believes Canada geese have moved in. Two have been spotted nearby. Herons are also seen in the park, remarkably unconcerned by Mike and colleagues passing nearby on their weekly walkabout.

The viewing platform at Hunt Nature Park in Shalford, entered from the Wey-South Park, now has picnic benches for use by visitors.

The viewing platform at Hunt Nature Park in Shalford, entered from the Wey-South Park, now has picnic benches for use by visitors.

Elsewhere along the canal, volunteers are demolishing the concrete causeway which has been replaced by the new Compasses Bridge at Alfold, at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex. So far, no trace has been found of the bridge which formerly carried the Guildford to Horsham road over the canal.

The new bridge will be officially opened by actress Penelope Keith on Sunday, October 2, as part of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of the canal being opened at that location. Actor Brian Blessed hopes to join in the Trust’s commemoration activities at Loxwood, West Sussex, on Saturday, October 1.

Canoeists, kayakers and small boat owners are invited to join a flotilla exploring the River Arun on Sunday, May 22. The occasion is the Trust’s annual rally on the waterway between Pulborough and Pallingham Quay, where the canal route joins the river.

The rally celebrates the long tradition of boats navigating a waterway which was once part of a route from London to the South Coast. Launching at Pulborough is planned for between 1.30pm and 2pm for small boats which need to use the slipway there.

Those who would like to join the rally can book places online at They can also request a form by e-mailing

The Trust is also inviting people to sign up for an enjoyable sponsored stroll along the canal and through some beautiful Surrey and Sussex countryside, raising money for its restoration projects. Almost anyone can take part in the walk, the Poddle on June 5, with the proviso that the route includes stiles and some hills so may prove difficult for some.

WACT gives other charities and organisations the opportunity to raise money through a 50/50 sponsorship option. If you enter as a ‘team’ and raise more than £200 sponsorship (minimum £20 each) it is happy to split your proceeds equally with a good cause of your choosing.

The morning section of about 6½ miles is from North Hall in Loxwood to the Three Compasses pub at Alfold, where lunch will be provided. Those who would like to do a shorter walk can just join the afternoon 5½ mile section. It starts at 1pm from the Three Compasses. The route goes to Alfold village, over farmland and then along the Surrey-Sussex border and back to North Hall for tea and cake.

Register to take part in the Poddle at 

If you are unable to do the walk, you could sponsor the ‘Last Man’, support the Poddle by making cakes for the walkers, act as a marshal on the day or man a refreshment point. To offer your services or find out more, contact Poddle organiser Margaret Darvill on 01483 894606 or e-mail her on

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