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Work Starts On Canal’s Latest Restoration Project

Published on: 31 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 1 Nov, 2020

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust has begun work on a major restoration project within its Surrey length.

Volunteers at work on the latest restoration project on the Way & Arun Canal at Alfold.

The two- to three-year ambitious project will be largely carried out by volunteers and will see a new canal cut and two bridges built at Tickner’s Heath, Alfold, not far from Dunsfold Aerodrome.

Currently, the route of the canal is blocked by a causeway which carries the Dunsfold Road.

Originally, a brick-arch bridge built in the 1810s carried the road over the canal. By 1913 the original bridge had been demolished and the road realigned on to an earth causeway.

The trust looked at several options before deciding the best solution was to avoid the obstruction altogether.

The restoration project will require a lot of digging!

Volunteers will build a new length of canal, approximately 180m long, to divert around the causeway and create a new road bridge at a point where the Dunsfold Road is straight.

The road bridge will be similar to that constructed by volunteers at nearby Compasses, at the entrance to Dunsfold Park. This bridge was recognised with a highly commended award in the Waverley Design Awards 2019.

A short length of temporary road will be built to take traffic around the bridge site during construction and a separate, parallel bridge will be built for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, along with a new footpath.

With both bridges in place and the road re-opened to traffic, the new canal cut will be excavated.

The last 100 yards of the existing canal will be partially filled and landscaped with areas of wetland and replacement tree planting.

Hedgerow planting will add 75m of native species to the site and a reptile pond and hibernaculum are to be added.

A view of the canal at Tickner’s Heath, Alfold.

Volunteer working parties operating several times a week have so far built a compound area on an adjacent field, created culverts and ditching, erected fencing and constructed a base for power connections.

Contractors will be employed for piling, but volunteers will carry out a significant proportion of the construction and landscaping work.

Opened 1816, The Wey & Arun Junction Canal once linked the Wey Navigation at Shalford to the south coast via the Arun Navigation.

Click here for the website of the Way & Arun Canal Trust.

Story based on a press release from the Way & Arun Canal Trust.

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test 2 Responses to Work Starts On Canal’s Latest Restoration Project

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    October 31, 2020 at 11:29 am

    For any who want to wander a bit further than the Riverside Nature Reserve, a stroll alongside the Wey and Arun is a pleasant walk past newly replaced and refurbished bridges, locks and well-kept tow-paths. The trustees and volunteers should be highly commended for their continuing work.

    You can start from Shalford, right the way through well past Cranleigh on the ‘nearly dry’ bits before getting to Alfold, also, worth a walk. But a good map is recommended as you have to wander off the route in several places.

  2. Danial Winchester Reply

    December 3, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    An interesting article but, as an ecologist, I would like to point out that the pond in question in your article is most likely to have been created for amphibians (Frogs, toads and newts) and not reptiles (although the grass snake may use the pond to hunt for fish and amphibians). A hibernaculum (hibernation site) can be used by both reptiles and amphibians.

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