New canal bridge open day

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A unique opportunity to explore the first canal bridge to be built in Surrey for 200 years is being offered on Sunday June 5.

Compasses Bridge, across the Wey & Arun Canal at Alfold, Cranleigh, is in the final stages of construction and set for a public open day.

Guided tours will showcase a project which is key to the reopening of around a mile of the waterway to navigation by small boats.

With the canal drained of water, people will be able to see under the bridge, which has replaced a 1930s concrete causeway.

The bridge is at the Compasses Gate entrance to the Dunsfold Park aerodrome and business complex, on what was once the main Guildford to Horsham highway.

Contractors built the main structure but volunteers from the Wey & Arun Canal Trust and visiting canal construction enthusiasts are finishing the project.

The Trust’s site manager, Dave Evans, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved at Compasses in the last few months, including getting the new bridge open to traffic on schedule at Easter, meeting a tight deadline.

“Now we want to show the public what the Trust is doing here, including restoring a significant stretch of the canal’s Summit Level. Our volunteers range from bricklayers to digger drivers and they turn out really professional work.”

Guided tours will be run from 11am to 2pm. Those wishing to take part should arrive at Compasses Gate, off Dunsfold Road, Alfold, and check in with the Trust’s mobile display vehicle there.

Visitors will have the chance to buy special merchandise commissioned to mark the 200th anniversary of the canal being declared open at Compasses. They will also be able to greet and encourage people taking part in the Trust’s annual sponsored walk, the Poddle, which passes by during the day.

With the major aspects of the bridge build now complete, the Trust has just launched a ‘final push’ appeal to complete the last part of the Compasses project.

To make a donation, find out more about the guided tours, or contribute to Trust funds by taking part in the sponsored walk, visit www.weyandarun.co.uk, call 01483 505566, or e-mail events@weyandarun.co.uk