IT was a project that took months of hard work, hours of dedication by volunteers and thousands of pounds worth of grants and fundraising.
But the Coultershaw Trust was left devastated as they watched their boardwalk, completed only last year, washed away in the Christmas floods. “This is a very disappointing event after all the volunteer effort to build the boardwalk,” said trust chairman Robin Wilson.
“The trust is determined to rebuild the structure, albeit at a level to resist future floods.
“We will salvage as much of the timber as we can.
“The new design will incorporate steel beams to cross the navigation channel in a single span.”
The boardwalk spanned the channel of the former Rother Navigation which became a torrent three meters deep as the River Rother above the sluices overflowed its banks.
Flooding washed a large amount of debris into the lock and through the road bridge and much of the debris was caught by the boardwalk structure.
The flood level was 800m above the boardwalk which was lifted from its supports and broke in two.
Part of the boardwalk floated away, the rest remained attached to the bank, but was pushed downstream twisting the walkway and lifting the piled supports.
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.
See the Midhurst and Petworth Observer (out January 9) for more on the floods and all the pictures