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Canal supporters step back to the past

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Supporters of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust came together in June for the charity’s annual sponsored walk.

The 12-mile route offered the opportunity to discover the disused Portsmouth & Arundel Canal along with the picturesque River Arun, as well as raise funds for the Trust’s restoration work. The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is working hard to restore 23 miles of navigable waterway linking the River Arun at Pallingham in West Sussex to the River Wey at Shalford in Surrey, and the sponsored walk makes a vital contribution to pushing the restoration effort forward.

Some 144 walkers strapped on their boots and set off from Walberton Village Hall in Arundel for the circular route. Along the way participants were not only able to enjoy the Sussex countryside but got a fascinating glimpse of canal structures, including the entrance to the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal at Ford, a buried canal bridge hidden in a residential area and the Hollingworth swing bridge. They were also treated to a traditional tea at the last stop.

The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal was abandoned in 1855 after it failed to be a financial success. It had been part of a larger scheme to allow craft to move from the Thames in London to Portsmouth without having to enter the Channel. It formed the southernmost half of the waterway link of which the Wey & Arun Canal forms the northern route and which the Trust is aiming to restore fully.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust chairman Sally Schupke was delighted to report that the Poddle raised more than £10,000 and praised organisers and volunteers for their efforts. She said: “The event brought together members and supporters for a fantastic day out. All those participating

enjoyed exploring the walk and discovering more about the story of our lost canals.

“I would like to congratulate those who took part and event organiser Margaret Darvill and her team for their incredible dedication and hard work.”