New bridge nearing completion

Published: Monday, 05 June 2017

IN THE the years after the Wey & Arun Canal closed in 1871, the brick-built locks in northern Sussex and Surrey became a valuable source of building materials.

By the time the Wey & Arun Canal Trust came to restore these locks, there were usually few signs of where they had stood, only a slight change in the level of the canal bed.

Rebuilding locks

The Trust had to plan complete rebuilding, so currently a large team of volunteers is working, usually twice a week, to complete the rebuilding of Gennets Bridge Lock, just South of the Sussex/Surrey border between Loxwood (Sussex) and Alfold (Surrey).

Gennets BridgeContractors built the concrete shell of the lock in late 2015; volunteers then undertook all the remaining tasks, including facing the concrete with local bricks to recreate the lock’s original appearance. This way of working is saving a huge amount of money, compared to using contractors for the whole project.

New arched bridge

As well as the lock itself, the volunteers are constructing a new arched bridge to allow walkers on the Sussex Border Path and farm vehicles to cross the canal.

The bridge is now nearing completion and the plan is that all construction on the site will be finished by the end of 2017. In the picture Project Manager Eric Walker shows off the new bridge, as lock construction continues in the background.