Another lock restoration

Published: Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust's restoration scheme will take another significant step forward when Devil's Hole Lock is reopened in April.

Restoration of the lock began in 1996, but the project gained real importance with the reinstatement of the canal crossing under Loxwood High Street in 2009. Julian Morgan's photo shows work on the lock.

Saturday 17th April is the date for the opening ceremony of the restored lock, north of Loxwood, on the Sussex/Surrey border. A particular highlight of the event will be a visit by a delegation from the Canadian High Commission, and a contingent from the Canadian Veterans Association. The Canada connection dates back to the Dieppe raid during World War II; the Canadian Army Engineers, who were stationed nearby, used the old lock for demolition practice prior to the raid.

Trip boat

Another major celebration on the same day will be the naming of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's newest trip boat, the 12-seater Josias Jessop, which has been newly refurbished for small parties. Josias Jessop was the engineer responsible for the original canal design in the early 19th century.

The boat will be named at Loxwood Lock, following which the VIP party will make their way onboard the Trust's original trip boat, Zachariah Keppel, along the latest stretch of canal to be completed, as far as the rebuilt Devil's Hole Lock. A VIP will cut a ribbon to ‘open' the lock again—68 years after it was blown up in 1942 and some 129 years after the canal was ‘abandoned' in 1871.