London’s Lost Route to the Sea – Chichester to Bosham

25th June 2016

Chichester to Bosham – 16.68 km (10.36 miles)

Quite a clan of us embarked on the trek today that included Susan, Cookie, PK, Belinda, Tim, Kiah and myself.  You could say that we had formed a walking group, so lets call it  H.M.T.S., an abbreviation that will become more apparent later in the blog.

We parked up at Bosham  Station and caught the train to Chichester,  you could see the tall steeple of the cathedral as you looked east down the tracks from the station, in actual fact it  wasn’t that far to Chichester but the walk today will not be as straight but instead a big loop round and back. With all the recent delays i was surprised that the train arrived pretty much on time, so we all bundled on for the short journey. On the train Susan commented that she liked Tim’s T-shirt, which had a forest scene with Alaska written on it, he replied saying that he had not been to Alaska and that he only bought it from a well known supermarket and that it wasn’t an exclusive t shirt from ‘Hunky Men R Us’ (believe it or not, is no such store), this really cracked Belinda and Susan up and would be with us for for the day with many off the cuff comments.

On arrival at Chichester we started our walk at the canal basin, which again is where we finished last time. In the basin was one of the canal boats with all the tables laid up for brunch or lunch and people were arriving for their excursions. The water in this part was actually quite clear and Tim straight away was scouring his eyes over the it like a Heron looking for it’s lunch, It wasn’t long before he spotted a pike, a perch and some rudd that could all clearly be seen below the surface of the water. The actual start of the tow path south was guarded by a big swan who seemed to have had a bad start to the day as he would hiss and snap out at everyone that passed too closely, but really he was only keeping strangers at bay and looking out for his young cygnets that were on the water with mum. Today there also seemed to be lots of baby coots and moorhens, some really tiny and others who’s fluff was turning into feathers, all with their mums who were chirping away at us as we passed by.

P1050781

 

Not long after we started the heavens opened and it started raining, the weather forecast said that there would be some showers with some of them prolonged and heavy, although we had the waterproofs with us just in case, i didn’t expect that we would need to be putting them on so soon, sheltering under the A27 road bridge we decided that this was probably a sensible time to put them on.

The first few kilometres on the towpath was heading south retracing our steps back from Chichester and down this branch line of the canal to Hunston. The last trek that Susan joined us on we started playing the ‘penny game’ and named some things to see, since then we have seen plenty of dragonflies and rabbits but no kingfishers (this is what i called out as i have really been hoping to see one on this challenge), well Susan pointed out to me that the boat on it’s way back to the basin was called ‘Kingfisher’, not sure that counts but probably the nearest i’m going to get, is it worthy of a penny in the ‘penny game’ though?……

At Hunston we rejoined the main canal that would have connected Portsmouth to Arundel and this section is known as the ‘Chichester Ship Canal’, they  would have to have been really small ships as this part of the canal was no wider than any of the others we had encountered. Along this stretch were many remnants of concrete that would have supported the swing bridges, one of which would have taken the old selsey railway over the canal, this has long been disused now and some of it has been turned into a cycle path. There were two main roads that we needed to cross connecting Chichester to the coast that in the days when the canal was operating would have been swing bridges, but now have been replaced with a modern concrete and tarmac bridges that has such a small span underneath no boats could pass through anymore.

So funny, as on this stretch we met an elderly man who was walking his dog, he briefly stopped and chatted to me, PK and Tim about the weather (typically British) and then carried on, Susan and Belinda were a little way behind at this stage, i think the talking was slowing them a little….lol! However the same gentlemen commented to the girls that that was a big group of men, referring to us. Later when they told us what he had said Tim suggested that we were the H.M.T.S. which means ‘Hunky Men Trekking Society’ once again we all cracked up, the only bit of the H.M.T.S. that is true is the fact that we were trekking, this name seemed to stick with us all day, not sure what sort of characters it would encourage though if there was such a group.

We next arrived at Chichester Marina which was at the end of the ship Canal, it was a long entrance and the walk was on the road that took you into the marina at this point we found a lock hidden behind some overgrown bushes that had the upstream gates closed and although they were leaking and looked a little bit in need of repair they were holding back the water very well. As we got further into the marina there was houseboats on the canal, some being repaired and one being built, however the majority were very square and not boat like. We soon reached the lock at the end of the canal that had the upstream gates closed holding back the water in the canal and the downstream gates were in such disrepair that they would not been capable of closing. This lock when operational would have been tidal and could only have been accessed during periods when the tide was high. This last lock was the end of the chichester ship canal and would lead into the harbour and from here on the barges would be towed by tugs follow the various channels to Milton near Portsmouth. Before the modern marina was constructed this part of the canal was used to store the yachts, but demand for more space to keep them meant that the chichester marina was expanded to take the many millions of pounds worth of boats that are in there today. The entrance to this is also controlled by a lock so that the marina always remained full of water. The gates on this though were controlled mechanically so not much muscle needed here.

Now that the canal has joined the harbour, the walk will be of completely different scenery, and we will be walking as close to the route through the harbour as possible. The first part is walking down alongside the chichester channel that is lined with fields and small estates of some very exclusive properties overlooking the harbour, some with there own access and boats. We were all beginning to get hungry now and Belinda by now had asked several times if we were nearly there yet. The rain also was beginning to get heavy now, so the pace was stepped up so that we could get to ‘The Ship’ pub for lunch. Inside the pub it was very busy and luckily a table was just leaving as we arrived, on looking at the menu all of us but PK decided to go for the fish and chips, which i had beer battered hake…..mmm

P1050819

After re-energising with lunch we set off on the afternoons leg, the rain had stopped now and occasionally when the sun came out it was really warm on your back. We walked down the main street of Itchenor with it’s seaside cottages to the harbour and we then had to get the Itchenor ferry across the channel to the side where Bosham was, when i say ferry it’s a small dory type fishing boat, but nonetheless saves us a lot of walking.

There was no jetty on the Bosham side of the harbour so the boat beached itself on the pebbles and put down a big ramp for us to walk down, we set off around the shoreline of the harbour and was now following the Bosham Channel, this bit was not used as the main canal route but would have connected Bosham with any trade from the sea. This path is also tidal and with the tide coming in raised a few concerns in my mind as to whether we would make it all the way round without being cut off, however at the moment its all still accessible. The last little bit of shoreline just before the road was very nearly blocked as the tide had come in quite a way leaving just the narrowest of pebbles that we could walk on, five minutes later and i think we would have been paddling. My boots are beginning to wear out and a part of the stitching is coming away so the water had leaked through them making my feet wet, Susan also had a problem with water getting in too, looks like a trip to the outdoors shop for some new boots for the pair of us, i can’t complain though as they have certainly covered some miles. . The road around to Bosham was also beginning to flood but luckily we only had to wade through a small part of the water as the path was raised up high than the road in most places. The rain was now beginning to return as we approached the village of Bosham, so once again we sped up. In the village we sat undercover in a tea room courtyard eating ice cream, caramel and honeycomb was the flavour for today, with a plain chocolate flake……..yum. The weather was so erratic today and as the rain had subsided again we head off on the last section by the side of the harbour to the cars at the station. As we were approaching the end of the walk the sky was really blackening and just before we got to the cars the heavens finally opened once again. Another great walk on this journey and although it rained heavily on and off that didn’t really matter as i had great company for the day and lots of laughs on the way……

London’s Lost Route to the Sea – Ford to Chichester

12th June 2016

Ford to Chichester – 18.78km (11.67 miles)

We started after lunch today, Matt and Gemma had stayed over the night before, so it was great to spend the morning with them and debating the weather on our phones, it was amazing that all three had different forecasts, me the optimist stuck with what my phone was saying which wasn’t far wrong, rain in the morning and clearing up in the afternoon; which it did…..

PK picked Cookie and i up early afternoon and we parked at the station in  Ford (don’t mention to PK about reversing into the wall of the station, even though he had the reversing beepers on the car……..ooops!). We headed down the road to where we left off from last time, and on this short bit of road you could see a small section of the old canal going under the road and past a couple of houses that were built in 1877, i would guess that in the day they probably had a role to play in the operation of the canal. On leaving the main Ford Road it was straight into the farmers fields and the path took us right across the middle and through the crops, apart from on the map there was no evidence of the canal here at all, it suddenly stopped at the back of the cottages and became the field of crops.

DSC_0191

From Ford to Yapton it was mainly going through and around crop fields until we reached the outskirts of the village when the canal started to become apparent again, you could make out the distinctive dip in the ground and generally a line of trees too. A lot of new houses have sprung up here and you could tell that this canal has made it’s mark in history as the roads were named after it, like Navigation Way and Canal Road this naming of roads was also seen later in the day as we approached Chichester too. Incredibly we found some more evidence of the canal amongst this urban area as an old bridge is semi hidden behind some bushes and trees, it’s absolutely amazing that it has stood the test of time and remained intact, the bridge sadly served no purpose any more and was just overgrown. We stopped at the Co-op in Yapton so that PK could pick up a Mars bar to boost his energy and then we carried on and out of the village, on leaving there is a fine example of a bridge that i would imagine has got a preservation order on it, as all around it there are houses with some actually built on the path of the canal.

The disused canal from Yapton onwards is now quite evident as to the route it took and the path runs along with it too, on this section that passes Barnham there are many remnants of the  ‘Hollingsworth Swing’ Bridges that used to operate on this canal allowing farmers access to their fields.

A couple of miles to the South of this section of canal is home and we could pick out some distinguishing points, like the two tall trees by PKs house, Fitzleet flats and Butlins. The grass again was quite long on this section and every now and then i would see a cloud of pollen get kicked by PK out of the tufts of grass, which did not do me any good at all, from amongst the long grass was a small grass snake just basking in the sun on the path, he/she was lucky that we didn’t tread on them. A little further on and after crossing the railway line we were greeted with the most foul stench that got stronger the further we walked, we eventually found out that it was the main sewage plant for Bognor, it was disgusting. We crossed the A29, the main road that leads to London and also in the main follows an old roman road called Stane Street, hence it is pretty straight.

On the other side of the road the grass is surprising well kept and nicely mown and every so often there was a test pipe with a gas tap on the top, these are for the gas that is drawn off the local landfill site, as you can see from the blog that this little section of the disused canal is not that pleasant, however although disused and overgrown the canal is still quite evident on our left. When the neatly mown track finished it went to quite the opposite and we were battling against some really overgrown path, of which later we found out that there was an easier route around. The fields all of a sudden changed and were full of poly tunnels that had strawberries and raspberries growing in them, you could smell the sweet aroma and also see the the big juicy fruit growing too, so tempting, it makes you also wonder how many get eaten by the staff……We walked past these tunnels for quite a way through Colworth, across the A259 and finally on to Merstham where we would leave the overgrown paths and join the road for the next few kilometres, this was much to cookies delight as she was so fed up with the long grass. At this point the only evidence we could find apart from on the map was a dilapidated bridge, again very overgrown and in a lot of ruin.

The route of the old canal would have gone straight across the fields, which there is no footpath so we need to leave the paths here and follow the road for a short way, a little bit risky as it was single track, however on reaching Mundham there was a proper pavement which made it much safer. At Mundham we decided that a 15 minute rest is in order so we stopped off at the Walnut Tree for a quick lime and soda, makes a change from the water that I’m carrying. From here to Hunston meant following the road as this main route to Chichester follows a small part of the canal which is very evident next to the road, parts of it even contain water.

DSC_0218

At Hunston the canal divides, you have the branch line which goes into Chichester and the main canal which carries on to Portsmouth, we are to take the branch line today that will take us alongside a working section that regularly run trips, especially Easter Bunny and Santa trips during the holidays. This section of the canal is also very tranquil and you often see anglers with their rods out, today though it was more joggers and walkers. After passing under the A27 we are coming in towards the city and the canal basin, you also have here the only working ‘Hollingsworth swing bridge’ that is predominantly in the open position, i have seen them close it once in the past.

The basin in chichester is home to the two pleasure barges the Kingston and the Richmond and also many small rowing boats that you can hire, the canal society also keeps it’s working vessels here too, which one year i managed to invest some explorer scouts on.

Since leaving the Walnut Tree we had both decided that we really fancied eating at a local carvery as being a Sunday we really fancied a roast. So after catching another delayed train, picking up the car, dropping off cookie and arriving at the pub we could not believe that the kitchen was closed……unbelievable! We were running out of choices and ended up in The Fox in Felpham where we had something completely different to what we had psyched ourselves up to……..

London’s Lost Route to the Sea – Amberley to Ford

4th June & 10th June 2016

Amberley to Ford – 15.33km (9.52 miles)

The reason that i have two dates above is that i have walked this section twice now, once with Belinda, Tim and Kiah on the 4th and then with PK on the 10th which was a good shout as i got to see some of those things that you miss the 1st time round. I shall start the Blog with the trek on the 4th.

4th June 2016 – The night before i was on a numpty bowling night so the head was a little hazy this morning, i must do my planning better……lol. However the start of the day on the train couldn’t have gone smoother after the trouble i had had with them yesterday, cancellations because of sickness and signalling problems. It’s great to have company on my walks and Belinda, Tim and Kiah joined me today for the walk from Amberley to Ford.

On the last leg of the trek i completed the recognised long distance ‘Wey South Path’ and now it is a case of navigating my own route as close to the river and canals as possible; which for this stage will be no problem at all.

The 1st bit of todays trek is across the causeway at Amberley which is not the safest of walks as we have to duck in and out of the recesses on the bridge as cars would pass really quickly and close, it’s not that wide so was a bit scary, fortunately this was only a short bit and on leaving the road we join the banks of the River Arun and start following the course of the river. The river at this point has now become tidal and the tide is coming in with the flow heading inland, bringing lots of seaweed flotsam in with it.

After passing through a few fields we enter South Woods where we are greeted with the soft smell of wild garlic again, the path is still following the river and the ground is quite wet in places, over the last winter this area would have been flooded as the river had burst it’s banks on quite a few occasions. This was probably the reason that all the board walks were in a shambles and falling down, the boardwalks would have enabled you to walk this route when the river is really high and coming over the banks, however they wouldn’t be very effective now. In South Woods you often get people wild camping under the chalk cliffs which is not strictly legal but the little clearings make great camps. We also came across a rope swing that someone had put up and attached to a massive tree, i so wanted to have a go but on looking at it i was concerned that the combination of straps and rope wouldn’t hold my weight, i thought it was best not to chance it.

P1050715

A few days before the trek i had kind of told Belinda and Tim that it would all be flat as we were following a river, however i forgot about the little climb of about 48 metres on the outskirts of Arundel park, not good for Tim’s knees but hopefully not to bad. The descent back down to the river took us through the tiny hamlet of South Stoke with it’s Saxon Church ‘St Leonards’ that has stood there since the 11th century.

We rejoin the river and continue heading south along the banks, passing through some cow fields before reaching Offham and the famous Black Rabbit pub that has been here for over 200 years. The outdoor seating area here is fantastic as it overlooks the river and has a variety of tables and chairs, a bit cheeky but we decided to sit at one of the benches and sneakily eat our sandwiches, cheese and tomato for me and egg mayonnaise for B & T made by Tim in the morning to Belinda’s exacting standards. The river at this point now had reached it’s high tide and was static with no flow. In the past you would have been able to hire boats from here for pleasure on the river.

P1050719

After lunch we continued passed the Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre and you could hear the calls of various birds including seagulls that have probably flown in for the free lunch. After a few more kilometres winding around with the river we reached arundel, a beautiful market town with a castle, cathedral and many ghost stories (i’ve taken the tour). We stopped here as i it was time for an ice cream, i had the Rocky Road flavour and B & T the Brownie & White Chocolate flavour. Arundel also makes a good beer, so it would have been rude not to stop off at the Arundel Brewery Shop and get some local beer for when i got home.

The route took us through Arundel Town and past some very old cottages that must have seen plenty of history and then out into the fields to wind our way down to Ford. The South Marsh Mill could be clearly seen on the East side which is now a house, but was built in 1830 and operational up until 1922. On our side we passed Billycan camping, a site set up with Bell tents, Yurts and Tipi’s that you can hire to get away from hustle and bustle of modern life.

Tim’s keen eye spotted many mullets swimming in the shallows of the river that was now on it’s way out, however my eye was not as keen as i kept missing them, but then again Tim is a seasoned angler and knows when to spot a good fish. The clouds and haziness had cleared towards the end and the temperature was rising; which was beginning to sap our energy. As we passed under the railway at Ford we could see the inlet where the Portsmouth section of the canal joined the river. This housed a few house boats but only went in about 50 metres before being blocked by a wall where most likely the lock would have been.

On leaving the river we pass another 11th century church at Ford before joining the road and seeing the last remnants of the canal going underneath. On this last part of the walk we joked every time we saw a train go past that that was our train, even though we knew that there would be plenty more, however the joke nearly back fired as when we were walking up to the station the level crossing gates went down and a train came in, we had to muster up some extra energy and run for the train that we caught by the skin of our teeth and just got on.

On putting my feet up in the garden when getting home the ‘Sussex Gold, beer that i bought tasted so good……..

P1050745

10th June 2016 – PK has so got into this walking now, he wore his old boots into the ground and were dumped in a bin at Cranleigh and now he is talking about getting a new rucksack to replace the trusty old one that he currently has, i better not take him ‘Cotswold Outdoors’  as it took me one and a half hours to buy my new one, well i had to make sure it was comfy and looking back that was good hour and a half spent. Anyhow the fact that PK has got hooked meant that he couldn’t miss a stage so i was more than happy to redo this section again, particularly as more beer would be involved……

After catching a delayed train to Amberley we set off on the same route as before, which was across the causeway and around the river to South Woods where the rope swing was. Me being the big kid i am meant that i just couldn’t resist it this time and had to have a go, so i tentatively tugged on the rope and straps and it felt relatively sturdy so it was a case of going for it. So i climbed up the roots of the tree with the swing in tow and jumped on the stick and gripping the rope between my legs………yay it held my weight and was great fun until trying to get off which was not going to be so easy as it was not in easy reach of the ground with my legs, after a bit of cramp i managed to dismount the swing, although good fun i thought having another go was pushing my luck.

When we reached the Black Rabbit this time we stopped for a cheeky drink, i had a fruity seasonal beer called Bouncing Bounder made by Badgers and PK had a cup of tea…….really……lol, i suppose he is older than me.

Between the pub and Arundel meant going through the cow fields again and previously the cows were further into the field, but this time they were on the path and looking at us face on, PK took the option to give them a wide berth and myself, feeling brave decided to stick to the path, the cows (actually bulls when i had a closer look) were far too hot to be bothered with me, in fact one even let me stroke his nose and that is really brave for me.

In Arundel after a quick walk around we decided to eat in the Red Lion opposite the Market Square, PK had the usual pie and i opted for the asparagus tart with a pint of Sussex Gold beer, nice!

The last bit of the walk down to Ford was quite muggy and warm and even rain but didn’t take long at all. Another great hike completed even though i’m still struggling with hay fever. Bring on the next one…………

London’s Lost Route to the Sea – Newbridge to Amberley

2nd June 2016

Newbridge to Amberley – 20.91km (13 miles)

PK and i caught the train to Billingshurst which is the nearest point to todays walk and trekked across the fields for a few kilometres to where we left off last time. The grass is quite long at the moment and paths over grown with nettles, good job i didn’t put the shorts on today, however as i was to find out the long grass will play havoc with mine and PKs hay fever. On heading down the hill from Billingshurst towards the old canal a young deer leapt up out of the grass and ran across the field in front of us, speedily bounding and skipping away.

P1050655

We are still following the Wey South Path and today will be the last leg of this recognised long distance walking route, but not the end of the challenge. The canal will only be recognisable in stages with some of it passing through private land. The first part of the walk was through fields next to the River Arun, which is still only a few metres wide and the canal is barely recognisable at this point, mind you a little further on it became more apparent. After rejoining the canal for a short way we reached Lordings Lock, Aqueduct and water wheel. The Lock is completely dry now but was once filled by the water wheel lifting water up from the River Arun and into the lock, the waterwheel is totally functioning and after a bit of research i found photos online when it was filled up in 2007.

We were able to follow the canal for a couple more kilometres, which although had water in was exceptionally overgrown with weeds and reeds, the canal society need to get the jungle busters in on this section!  At Haybarn Farm we come across a working swing bridge which at this point is the only functional bit, as the canal is still very overgrown here. At this point we leave the canal for a while and walk through some more fields, woods and a road before we meet it again briefly at Pallingham Quay, that in it’s day had some minin docks and a stone workshop. From here to Stopham the route involves mainly walking along country roads that left the river and canal and passed by Coombelands racing trainers and the gallops where they train many winning racing horses.

After walking through the woods at Pulborough Park Plantation you can see that the Arun has over millions of years cut a valley into land with some really steep sides, almost gorge like. As we came out the woods the pub was there in front of us and lunch was a welcome break, for lunch PK ordered the mandatory Steak Pie and i had a Halloumi and Mediterranean Vegetable sandwich. The River here is now considerably wider than it has been previously and Stopham Bridge spans across the banks that in the 17c was a drawbridge that was later altered by raising the central arch which allowed the larger barges through.

After lunch we continued south following the route of the Arun Navigation which was built to cut off a corner of the River Arun and save about three and a half miles to do this route they had to build a tunnel at Hardhat that passed under a road and railway as well as a hill. The Hardham tunnels are  now not passable as they are blocked in the middle and are also hidden away from the path, however PK and i found the the Southern Entrance to these tunnels through the nettles and behind some metal grating, as we peered in you could feel the cold air coming out, huff was on our breath as we breathed. Back on the path and the cowslip was as tall as us and brushing past this is really setting off the hay fever, we also heard the chirps of baby birds and looked up to see holes cut in the trees where the sound was coming from, these nests must have been made by a woodpecker. At Greatham Bridge we once again briefly rejoin the Arun and the opportune moment to have a game of poo sticks (Yes! PK won), but there was no sign of where the canal actually joined. Greatham bridge in the main is a fine example of a stone bridge but following a storm was damaged and the portion that was washed away of the bridge was replaced with a steel section.

We follow the river for a short way and then leave it to wend off a little way from us as we walked through the Amberley Wild Brooks, an area that i think would be impassable in the winter as the ground was quite soggy in places and it’s been so dry recently. I have never walked across these brooks as in our teenage years we set out through here on a night hike and got freaked out for some reason and legged it back, however during the day there was nothing to be afraid of. Coming out of the wild brooks and swamps we enter the old village of Amberley, it reminded me of an old french town and you can imagine a really good community spirit here.

The end of the walk is met with a 68m climb up the downs to the South Downs way where the Wey South Path finishes, i was hoping that they would be some sign that we were either at the start or the end, but no there was nothing apart from the South Downs Way sign…….doh!. A short walk down the hill and we were back at the station and the car, a long but good walk today however all the long grass and overgrown paths meant that our hay fever has been a problem, we also both managed to see a rabbit and dragonfly but no kingfishers……….

P1050703

London’s Lost Route to the Sea – Loxwood to Newbridge

7th May 2016

Loxwood to Newbridge – 10.61km (6.59 miles)

A short leg today, but probably the right choice after a night out with the lads. Today is also the hottest day of the treks so far. PK, Cookie and i started at Loxwood where we left off last time and the weather had certainly brought out the visitors today as the car park was nearly full and people were milling about everywhere as well as taking the boat trips up and down the canal.

The first part of the walk was from the Onslow Arms along the the fully restored and navigable part of the canal. As we were walking on the towpath we caught up with a slow moving barge that had a party on, the champagne seemed to be flowing and lunch being passed around, how civilised. We followed alongside the barge and as it went through the locks we would help by opening the gates for them once the water had drained through the sluice. Our walking pace was a little faster than the boat and after a while we left it behind, but it did catch us up when we stopped for lunch at the Drungewick Aqueduct. This part of the canal is bordered by farmland and at this time of year the primroses, bluebells and wild garlic are all in full bloom.

The canal from here continues a little further but unfortunately across private land so we had to leave it here and follow footpaths once again as close the route as possible. After following the road a short way we entered some more woods that were carpeted with bluebells and giving off that lovely sweet aroma.

We walked through some woods and farmland of which we were to see and amazing abundance of wildlife, such as alpacas, herons, hawks and geese to name a few. We then reached the B2133 at Newpound Common and still no sight of the canal just yet, we had  a short walk along this road which links Billingshurst with Loxwood before turning off and rejoining the footpaths once again to take us back to the canal.

P1050508

We rejoined the canal at Loves Bridge which is reputed to be one of the most beautiful bridges on the canal, not sure why it is so called although their is a Loves Farm nearby too. From here we are able to walk alongside the disused canal once again, this section also with water in albeit static. The walk from here down to Newbridge was alongside the canal with the River Arun to our left which at this point is no wider than a few metres and also restricted by fallen trees. On this section of the canal there was a disused weir that is still used as an overflow should the water level rise too much and Rowner Lock which is no longer in use, but was used by the canal’s restoration society to practice lock renovation techniques on, there also used to be a lock house here but we could find no evidence of it. Unusually at this point an electricity pylon straddles the canal with its feet either side on the banks, this would certainly not have been here in the canals heyday. A little further along and there was a fully restored lift bridge too, it’s good to see evidence of renovation but it will be a long time before it’s navigable again in it’s entirety.

The last bit of the walk today took us through a cow field which normally wouldn’t bother me however today some feisty cows decided to get a bit too close to comfort, making us think of escape routes to get away from them should they charge, i suppose the worst case would have been to jump in the canal…..lol. After a lot of looking over our shoulders to see what they were up to they eventually all ran off in the other direction.

Newbridge Wharf was to be the finish today and is the end of the Wey & Arun Junction Canal that we had been tracking and now becomes the Arun Navigation which is the last link to the River Arun.