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Calling all canal lovers

Canal lovers are looking for more volunteers to help run boat trips from Loxwood near Billingshurst.

The trips along the restored section of London’s lost route to the sea have become so popular that more volunteer crew and boat maintenance people are urgently needed by the Wey and Arun Canal Trust to fill the demand for public and charter trips.

The group has 130 crew volunteers who raise funds all of which go towards the restoration of this historic canal which flows through some of the prettiest Surrey and Sussex countryside, but we need more.

The trust said: “We need skippers and boat crew who drive the boats, operate the locks and are responsible for passenger safety; cabin crew who serve refreshments, cream teas, and chat to the passengers, and maintenance people who can help keep our small fleet operational. 

“Volunteering for the Trust is great fun, and hugely rewarding. Not only are you contributing to the restoration of local heritage but you are meeting people from all over the world who enjoy our boat trips. 

“All that’s required is a reasonable level of fitness, a commitment of at least one day a month, weekends or weekdays, and membership of the Wey and Arun Canal which provides insurance cover for the volunteers. 

If you would like to know more about volunteering opportunities on the Wey and Arun Canal please ring 01403 752403. or email  office@weyandarun.co.uk,  a member of the volunteer team will contact you as soon as possible.

In the 19th century it was possible to travel by boat from London to Littlehampton on the south coast of England via Weybridge, Guildford, Pulborough and Arundel. This was just part of a once-extensive system of inland waterways covering England and Wales.

The route was via the rivers Wey and Arun, linked between Shalford in Surrey, and Pallingham in Sussex, by the 23-mile Wey and Arun Canal.

Although only one part of an extensive system, the Wey and Arun Canal formed a vital link, the only one between the south coast and the Thames, linking London and the busy river Thames with the English Channel – and beyond.  The river Wey was made navigable from Weybridge to Guildford in 1653, and extended to Godalming 90 years later. The Arun has existed as a tidal navigation as far inland as Pallingham Quay, near Pulborough, since 1575.

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