Work to restore Southlands 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 Southlands 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.
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 26 September.
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.
With the lock fully restored, the volunteers will not have a chance to rest as the restoration focus will then turn to the next lock to the north – Gennets Bridge lock – for which the Trust is starting to raise funds.
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.
Published 2nd October 2012
All news stories