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.
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.