The Canal History...
A small but important remnant of the old inland route from
What is known today as the
A 1.5 mile branch led from Hunston on the main line of the canal to a basin in
Transferred to the City Council in 1892 (who in turn sold it to West Sussex County Council in 1957), the surviving four miles were abandoned in 1928. The entrance lock and a short length at Salterns were retained as yacht moorings prior to the building of Chichester Marina alongside; the lock is still capable of operation and a number of houseboats are moored on this length. The remainder of the route to
Restoration: progress so far?
In the late 1970s the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal Society was formed with the aim of restoring the canal. They intended to concentrate on the length from ?Chichester to Salterns, and later changed their name to Chichester Canal Society (and more recently to Chichester Ship Canal Trust) to reflect this.
Taking over the lease from the anglers in 1984, the Society began by dredging Chichester Basin. Then, assisted by Waterway Recovery Group volunteers, they began to work back down the branch towards the main line, using a floating dredger with Bantam tugs and hopper barges to shift the silt. By the late 1990s they had reached the junction at Hunston and were working westwards along the main line towards Salterns. However as work progressed further, the silting became worse, and by the time restoration reached the culverted Crosbie Bridge at Donnington in 2002, it was getting beyond the capabilities of the volunteers.
The one-mile length from Crosbie Bridge to the other major road blockage, the former Cutfield Bridge near Birdham, has been dredged to full depth by contractors Land & Water Services, paid for with money raised by the Canal Trust over several years, and work supported by bank clearance and hedge-laying work by Trust and WRG volunteers.
Author: Martin Ludgate, Canal Boat and Inland Waterways Magazine
For the latest information see The Chichester Canal Restoration Project
For further information see the Chichester Canal Wikipedia entry