The Wey and Arun Canal Trust (WACT) aims to restore the canal back to life, from the River Wey at Shalford to the River Arun at Pallingham.
About the canal and the Trust
The canal route runs from the Godalming Navigation of the River Wey at Shalford, near Guildford in Surrey, to the River Arun at Pallingham, near Pulborough in West Sussex.
The first fully navigable section of the canal in Surrey, which is part of the Summit Level between Dunsfold and Alfold, was officially opened by actress and Surrey Hills patron Dame Penelope Keith, at the beginning of October 2016.
In a project costing around £700,000, a new Compass Bridge was also opened at the same time at the Alfold entrance to Dunsfold Aerodrome. It replaced a 1930s concrete causeway which was blocking the waterway.
As part of its aim to create a 23 mile ‘green corridor’ through the West Sussex and Surrey countryside, the Trust has also created Hunt Nature Park at Shalford, a wetland wildlife area leased from Surrey County Council.
So far, most of the money used to restore the canal has come from donations, fundraising activities and legacies. More information on the Trust, how to join, become a volunteer or support its activities with a donation is available on the Wey and Arun Canal Trust website.
The 23 mile Wey and Arun Canal - comprising of the combined Arun Navigation and the Wey and Arun Junction canal - was once the national inland waterway network’s only connection to the English Channel.
Now known as ‘London's lost route to the sea’, in the 19th century it was a safe route from London to ports such as Portsmouth, at times when shipping following the South coast was at risk from attack by the French navy.
Restoration of the waterway started in 1971, initially by the Wey and Arun Canal Society and then the Wey and Arun Canal Trust (WACT).
One of the major projects has been the building of the B2133 Loxwood High Street bridge and the new Loxwood Lock, costing approximately £2million.