Wey & Arun Canal's latest project opened

Published: Thursday, 23 September 2021

THE Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure, Matt Furniss, has officially opened the Wey &
Arun Canal’s Trust’s new information point at Shalford.

Cuts ribbonDeclaring the building 'a tremendous result', the Surrey County Councillor for Shalford cut the ribbon on the wheelchair-accessible information centre, boardwalk and viewing platform, which has been constructed by volunteers and contractors over the course of the past year within Hunt Nature Park.

Can cope with flooding

The cedar centre sits on concrete pillars and has been specially designed to cope with flooding that can occur in the nature reserve, with the path and viewing platform made from sustainable and toxin-free industrial recycled plastic.

Matt Furniss paid tribute to the trust volunteers who had not only helped construct the information point but were working along the length of the 23 miles canal to bring it back to life for the benefit of the public, explaining:

IndormationPointA difficult year

“A huge thank you to all volunteers for their hard work in not only constructing this centre but in restoring the link between the Wey and the Arun. Last year has been difficult for everyone, but the hard work done by members, volunteers and chairman Sally Schupke has been fantastic because it allows all of us, members of the public, to enjoy their hard work.

"The towpaths in particular were a lifesaver when we were allowed out for our daily exercise last year.”

The centre will play a key role in informing the public about the canal’s history and the Trust’s restoration achievements, as well as plans for Bramley and the northern end of the canal. It is hoped to offer guided walks from the information point as well as educational visits for schools.

Long time supporter

The project was helped by a legacy from long-time supporter David Hodgkinson, who sadly died in July 2020. He was a civil engineer by training and was Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association’s Kent & East Sussex branch until he emigrated to Florida in 2005. A plaque has been installed at the site in his memory and his widow Fran and son Andrew were present to witness the centre’s opening.

Photographs—cutting tape, information point (above) and walkway (below) by Stephen Batey.