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WALKERS BRING IN £10,000 FOR CANAL RESTORATION
PEOPLE strolling in the countryside and visiting historic locations have raised around £10,000 to help bring a 19th century waterway back to life. Their enjoyable expedition supported the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT), which is carrying out a number of restoration projects. The money was amassed by 150 people who took part in the charity’s annual fundraising walk, the Poddle, at the beginning of June.
“We are delighted with the money raised for the canal restoration fund,” said walk organiser Margaret Darvill. “With Gift Aid added, the final proceeds from the Poddle will be about £10,000. “The trust is really grateful to the people who sponsored our walkers and our thanks go to all those who completed the Poddle and to those who helped with the organisation and on the day.”
The Poddle supports the restoration of ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’, a 23-mile waterway which ran from the River Arun at Pallingham in West Sussex to the River Wey at Shalford in Surrey. This year’s walkers followed a 12-mile route around the Arun Valley, starting and finishing at Ingfield Manor School at Five Oaks, north of Billingshurst, with lunch at Wisborough Green Scout Hut.
The route included the canal from Loves Bridge, past Rowner Lock – the site of the first volunteer working party on the canal – to Lordings, where walkers were able to see a unique waterwheel and a restored aqueduct.
WACT is currently putting the finishing touches to its first major restoration scheme in Surrey, the new £700,000 Compasses Bridge at the Alfold entrance to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex.
The bridge is in the middle of the canal’s Summit Level, where around 1¼ miles of waterway are planned to be open to navigation by small boats by the end of this year. This will add to the 3½ miles of fully operational waterway at Loxwood in West Sussex.
A new Gennets Bridge Lock is being constructed north of the current head of navigation on the Surrey-Sussex border and the trust is in the advanced stages of planning the re-creation of the canal from the River Wey at Shalford down to Bramley.
If you would like to support the restoration, donations can be made via the home page of www.weyandarun.co.uk; or by sending a cheque made out to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust to Compasses Appeal, WACT Northern Office, Bridge End, Somerswey, Shalford, Guildford, Surrey GU4 8EQ. The Trust asks that eligible donors Gift Aid the money they give, which adds 25p from the Government to every £1 – declaration forms available via the website if required.