Coultershaw boardwalk, near Petworth, is completed

Rob Sadler of Chandlers  cuts the ribbon to open the new boardwalk at Coultershaw, flanked by Robin Wilson. Picture by Louise Adams C130989-1
Rob Sadler of Chandlers cuts the ribbon to open the new boardwalk at Coultershaw, flanked by Robin Wilson. Picture by Louise Adams C130989-1

FOLLOWING months of hard work, teams of helpers, and generous donations, the Coultershaw boardwalk is now officially open.

Volunteers have been tirelessly working on a restoration project towards the construction of the boardwalk.

The total value of volunteer time spent on the project to date is £30,000.

With timber supplied by Chandlers Building Supplies, it was formally opened by Rob Sadler of Chandlers and Robin Wilson, chairman of the Coultershaw Trust and a past president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Dozens of friends and volunteers then christened the boardwalk by taking the first steps across it.

Mr Wilson said: “The boardwalk extends the area of the Heritage Site accessible to visitors.

“It is the first stage of the Restoration Project funded by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the SDNPA, Chichester District Council and others.

“This was a great effort by volunteers who built the structure in 49 man-days and we are grateful for the sponsorship of the timber by Chandlers.

“We were also very pleased to have Rob Sadler to cut the tape. He has long connections with Chandlers and Coultershaw.”

The Coultershaw Trust has worked to restore the site and beam pump, and the project included refurbishment of the Pump House, restoration of the Engine House as a learning space, restoration of the warehouse as a multi-use exhibition with toilet facilities, a new footbridge over the river between the road and the sluices, and a boardwalk from the Engine House to the Navigation.

The water turbine, which generates ‘green’ electricity from a renewable source, was believed to be the first of its kind in the south east. The project was masterminded by Robin Wilson and the pump was switched on in July, 2012.

The total cost of the project was £322,917. The South Downs National Park Authority has contributed £20,000 from its Sustainable Development Fund. Chichester District Council has awarded the Trust a grant of £15,000.

Other contributions have been made by The Petworth Town Council, The Petworth Society and the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society.