Walkers poddle on for canal trust fundraiser

'The Poddle' for the Wey & Arun Canal Trust SUS-140818-123919001
'The Poddle' for the Wey & Arun Canal Trust SUS-140818-123919001

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust’s annual sponsored walk, called ‘The Poddle’, started from Shalford Mill in Surrey and included the new riverside walk built by volunteers last year.

153 walkers took part in brilliant sunshine and the Trust’s Vice-Chairman, Jim Phillips, said: “It looks as if The Poddle has raised at least £9,000. This is an excellent result and we are grateful to walkers and supporters for an important contribution towards the restoration of the Wey & Arun Canal.

“We have recently launched an appeal to replace the existing causeway at Compasses Bridge, near Dunsfold Park, which currently prevents navigation along that section. This will be our first big project in Surrey.”

Margaret Darvill, organiser of the walk, remarked: “This was my first year as organiser and I would like to thank all those who walked the route and my helpers who made it such an enjoyable day out for everyone.

The figure-of-8 route was designed to start and finish in Shalford with a lunch stop at St Mary’s Church which was an ideal venue.

The Trust is most grateful for the assistance of the National Trust for making Shalford Mill available for the start of the walk, and Mr Godfrey Austin for allowing us to use his premises in East Shalford Lane for car parking.

By good design much of the route used shaded paths, much appreciated by walkers in the midday heat.

The hilly paths had been well marked and there were marshals at tricky points. Highlights along the way were the attractive views from St Martha’s hill and the Pilgrims Way as well as the walk through Blackheath.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust Chairman, Sally Schupke, commented “Events like the Poddle don’t just “happen”. They are the result of dedicated effort by a large group of volunteers – planning the route, finding sponsors, refreshment stops and acting as marshals.

“Margaret, the organiser, deserves huge congratulations for putting the whole event together. She must have been greatly relieved when the traditional ‘Last Man’ arrived at the finishing point.”

Report and pictures contributed by The Wey & Arun Canal Trust.