Poddle produces £10,000 for canal

Sponsored walkers make their way across farmland during the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's 2017 Poddle.
Sponsored walkers make their way across farmland during the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's 2017 Poddle.

Around £10,000 has been raised to help bring the Wey and Arun Canal back to life.

People strolled in the countryside and visited historic locations on the annual Poddle, a key fundraising event for the Wey and Arun Canal Trust.

The trust is carrying out a number of restoration projects at the 19th century waterway and this enjoyable expedition provided vital financial support thanks to the 150 people who took part.

Walk organiser Margaret Darvill said: “We are delighted with the money raised for the canal restoration fund. 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.

The trust 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.

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 recreation 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 are available via the website.