Fringe Box



Along The Wey & Arun Canal, April 2016

Published on: 9 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 11 Apr, 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.

Along the Wey & Arun CanalRobins, great tits, nuthatches, hawfinches, herons and dunnocks are all being regularly seen in Hunt Nature Park at Shalford and greenfinches have been spotted there for the first time.

The bird feeders made by the trust’s lengthsman for the area, Mike Hobbs, are still being well used and are attracting more and more birds to the park. The nuthatches particularly enjoying the peanuts. Mike says: “The dunnocks are funny little birds, they scratch around the ground and peck the earth like hens.”

Nuthatches particularly enjoy eating peanuts from the bird feeders in Hunt Nature Park.

Nuthatches particularly enjoy eating peanuts from the bird feeders in Hunt Nature Park.

The park’s osier beds have produced a large amount of willow whips in a variety of colours, the lime green ones being particularly eye-catching. The Surrey Wildlife Trust woodcrafts course gave Mike and his team of volunteers plenty of ideas for using the willow.

A picnic bench is now in place on the viewing platform in the park, which members of the public are welcome to use for an al fresco meal. With nature now stirring apace there will be plenty of flora and fauna to see from this great vantage point. But please do not take cycles on to the viewing platform and horseriders should definitely hitch up their mounts at the entrance to the walkway.

Hunt Nature Park can be found where the long-distance Wey-South Path meets the A281 Horsham Road in Shalford, near the junction with Trunley Heath Road.

Further down the canal route, the new Compasses Bridge across the waterway was opened to traffic on the last day of March. Phase one of the bridge project is now finished, completed on time over the Easter break with the realignment of the road into the Dunsfold Park airport and business complex.

The bridge engineer, WACT director Tony Ford, says trust volunteers and visiting restoration groups worked tirelessly to achieve the critical date for the road changeover. If the deadline had not been met the whole project would have been delayed by several months, as any alternative date would have had to mesh with the aerodrome’s busy event schedule.

The new bridge is replacing a concrete causeway built across the canal in the 1930s to carry what was then the main Guildford to Horsham road. Demolition of the causeway, re-creation of the canal cut and landscaping of the bridge area will start in earnest in mid-April.

Meanwhile, the trust is well-advanced in planning celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the opening of the completed canal between Pallingham and Shalford. The festivities, on the weekend of October 1 and 2, will include the official opening of the new Compasses Bridge by Dame Penelope Keith, actor and patron of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *