Restored Wey and Arun Canal water wheel to be unveiled

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ANOTHER important event on the Wey and Arun Canal takes place later this summer when the restored Lordings water wheel is formally unveiled by Nick Herbert, minister of state for policing and criminal justice, whose Arundel and South Downs constituency includes this part of the canal.

The water wheel is situated on the former Arun Navigation section of the canal, south of Wisborough Green. Originally built nearly 200 years ago, the design is believed to be unique. The device was used to raise water from the River Arun to the summit level of the Arun Navigation.

About ten years ago a volunteer work group discovered what appeared to be the foundation of a building at Lordings. and excavating by hand, they found a water wheel chamber.

A wheel was constructed with the help of a local fabricator but sadly, it was found this year to have snapped.

A rebuilt wheel has now been assembled on site, re-installed and put back to work again transferring water from the River Arun into the canal.

The £10,000 cost of restoring the wheel has been met by donations from individual members, from a corporate member and by a grant from the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust.

For all those involved it has been an incredible achievement, and the new wheel forms a fitting memorial to Winston Harwood, who died in 2005 after a long battle with cancer.

Winston carried out much physical restoration work on the Arun Navigation section, often virtually single-handed. The present WACT voluntary working group based on this part of the canal still bears the name of the Winston Harwood Working Party.

He was the Wey and Arun Canal Trust’s restoration manager and led the volunteer work group which discovered the foundation of the building at Lordings.

Alongside the unveiling, a rally of small boats will be held throughout the day and a barbecue will be provided.