DESPITE the devastation caused by the worst floods in living memory, the Coultershaw boardwalk is set for a major comeback this summer.
Following the completion of a restoration project in 2013, volunteers watched helplessly as the boardwalk was washed away in floods on Christmas Eve.
The boardwalk spanned the channel of the former Rother Navigation which became a torrent three metres deep as the River Rother above the sluices overflowed its banks.
Water carried debris down the river and caught the boardwalk structure, lifting the piles out of the ground and breaking it in two.
But volunteers, who had spent months building the structure, have not given up.
Formally opened in July 2013, the boardwalk is part of a major restoration project funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the South Downs National Park Authority, Chichester District Council and Petworth Town Council.
It is now being rebuilt as a similar timber structure, at a higher level closer to the road.
The restoration is nearing completion and will be formally opened by Lord Egremont at an evening party on Wednesday, July 16 from 6pm-8pm.
Friends, volunteers and supporters of the project are welcome to attend.
With the support of county councillor Janet Duncton, the Coultershaw Trust – which oversees the project – received a grant of £15,000 from the West Sussex County Council Members Big Society Fund.
Monies were used to ensure the restoration project was completed to the highest standard.
The fitting of the pump house, warehouse and engine house is also finished, now housing new furniture, lighting and illustrated display panels interpreting the site.
In the warehouse, visitors can enjoy an exhibition of George Garland photographs.
There will be an open day this Sunday, June 15, from 11am-5pm. Adult tickets are £2.50 and children go free. See www.coultershaw.co.uk