Home » Attractions, Destinations » Take a Trip Down the Wey and Arun Canal

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The Wey and Arun Canal runs through some of the most rural and beautiful areas of Sussex, and joins up the two rivers of the Wey and the Arun, giving a direct path from the Wey, which can be easily accessed from London, to the sea. Unfortunately, for all that this canal offers, and despite it running through the lovely countryside of Sussex, the canal was abandoned in 1871, and people staying in a Rye hotel could no longer travel on boats up and down its length.

The reasons for its abandonment were purely commercial. The canal had originally been set up to provide an inland route from London to Portsmouth, and from there to the entire south coast of England. This was seen as an advantage because of the ongoing war with France, which made transporting goods by ship along the coast a risky business. However, by the time the canal was finished in 1816, the war with France was over. Despite this, the canal still did fairly well for itself up until a railway opened along the exact same route in 1865.

The railway was the death of the canal, and closure was authorised by parliament in 1868. The canal was finally abandoned in 1871 after the owners failed to sell it.

That wasn’t the end of the story for the Wey and Arun Canal though. In 1970 a group of like-minded people came together and started a project to restore the canal. Forty years on and the group is still going strong, and they’ve done plenty of work, so those staying in an East Sussex hotel can once again take advantage of the wonderful waterway.

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