Southland Lock gets its gates.
Work to restore Southland lock, near Loxwood in West Sussex, on the Wey & Arun Canal will be closer to being realised at the end of September when a new set of lock gates are delivered to the site. Delivery of the gates will mark the final stages of a programme of work to rebuild the lock that has taken two years and more than 5000 hours of volunteer labour.
Restoration of the lock will enable the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, which has been working to restore the canal for over 40 years, to extend the navigable section of the route further northwards. The Trust has currently restored a section around Loxwood and operates boat trips on this section which currently stop at Devil's Hole lock to the south of Southland lock.
The £44,000 lock gates are in the final stages of construction at Hargreaves Lock Gates yard in Halifax, West Yorkshire but will soon be making their journey south ready for fitting in a four day operation starting on 24 September when Hargreaves arrive with the gate fittings.
The 3.5 tonne bottom gates and 1.5 tonne top gates are expected to be lifted into position by a 24 tonne tracked excavator on Tuesday, 25 September. On Wednesday, 26 September the gates will be fitted and the mitres installed. Final fitting will take place on Thursday 27 with a formal signing-off at 3pm.
Once the lock gates are in position, more volunteer labour will be called for to construct the gate-top walkways and refit the lock operating mechanisms and fittings that were removed at the start of the restoration operation.
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust would like to thank the landowners for their generosity in allowing access across their land during the construction work at Southlands. The lock is more than a mile from public roads and this support has helped to ease the work on the challenging project.
Directions to visitors - Please park in the WACT car park which is located behind the Onslow Arms pub on the B2133 in Loxwood. From there it is a level walk along the towpath from the car park and under the B2133 road to Southlands lock. Please wear suitable footwear. www.weyandarun.co.uk
Notes to editors:
Photo opportunity - the Southlands lock gates will be officially handed over to the Wey & Arun Canal Trust at 3pm on 27 September.
Further information and photographs in the form of JPEG files can be obtained from the Wey & Arun Trust's Public Relations Officer: Sally Schupke (01483 560543): email: email@example.com
The Wey & Arun Canal Trust
The 23-mile Wey & Arun Canal was built between 1813 and 1816 to link the Rivers Wey and Arun, thus forming an inland barge route between London and the south coast in order to provide a safe inland route for military supplies to the fleet in Portsmouth. However, after the Napoleonic Wars, it became a largely agricultural canal, carrying goods including coal, chalk, lime and farm produce. The coming of the railways finally sealed the canal's fate, the waterway being abandoned in 1871.
Since 1971, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, a registered charity, has been working to re-open navigation along the waterway and, once fully restored, to again link Littlehampton on the south coast with the River Thames via the River Wey.