‘Last push’ for canal bridge appeal

Compasses Bridge project
Compasses Bridge project

A ‘last push’ appeal is being made to complete a new bridge which will allow a section of historic canal to be re-opened.

Loxwood-based Wey & Arun Canal Trust is seeking to raise £120,000 to finish the crossing in Alfold, its largest restoration scheme so far in Surrey.

With volunteers now busy on the final stages of construction work, the Trust has calculated this amount is needed for the completion of the Compasses Bridge project.

The bridge is on the waterway’s Summit Level, at one of the entrances to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex. Replacing a 1930s concrete causeway which blocked the canal, it was opened to traffic at Easter.

“The Trust is launching this new ‘last push’ appeal so that we can complete this project by the end of the year,” said Trust Chairman Sally Schupke.

Work started at the bridge site a year ago. Volunteers are currently laying facing bricks on the concrete shell and demolishing the causeway, with jobs to be finished including landscaping and building a public viewing platform. The bridge will be officially opened on Sunday October 2 as part of celebrations marking the Wey & Arun Canal’s bicentenary. Around a mile of waterway will be available to navigation by small boats, towards Tickner’s Heath at Dunsfold and going up to the A281 in Alfold.

“We hope that the public will respond generously and help us complete the project in 2016,” added Ms Schupke. “Then our teams can move on to the next restoration project and keep up the momentum of bringing a 23-mile green corridor back to life.”

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 – declaration forms available via the website if required.