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Wey & Arun Canal celebrates 200 years

PUBLISHED: 11:17 30 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:16 30 September 2016

Penelope Keith will be part of the Wey & Arun's 200th celebrations | Keith Moseley, Flickr CC2.0

Penelope Keith will be part of the Wey & Arun's 200th celebrations | Keith Moseley, Flickr CC2.0

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Calling all those in West Sussex: horse-drawn boat trips, traditional games, small boat rallies and the chance to dress up in 19th-century clothing – it’s all part of a packed weekend on the Wey & Arun

A small boats rally will be held at the Loxwood Canal Centre | ReflectedSerendipity, Flickr CC2.0A small boats rally will be held at the Loxwood Canal Centre | ReflectedSerendipity, Flickr CC2.0

There is a host of events this weekend (1-2 October) as part of the canal’s 200th anniversary celebrations, organised by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust – and to cap it all Dame Penelope Keith will officially open a new bridge.

Saturday 1 October

At 11am, a ceremony will launch the bicentenary at Pallingham Quay Bridge, near the canal’s junction with the River Arun. This marks the start of the ‘bicentennial baton’ journey, which will head up to Drungewick slipway by relay.

The rest of the day, a small boats rally will be held at the Loxwood Canal Centre at Onslow Wharf, where you can enjoy music, boat trips, historical games and displays. People will be dressed up in the latest fashions of 1816 too, so feel free to come in costume!

At Loxwood, take a traditional voyage down the waterway on narrowboat Zachariah Keppel, as its engine is switched off and it is drawn by horses in 19th-century style.

Finish off the first day with an atmospheric evening excursion to Brewhurst Lock aboard the Trust’s boat Wiggonholt, which will be illuminated to make for a spectacular sight.

Sunday 2 October

And on Sunday another rally kicks off at a recently restored section of the canal at Alford. The baton will arrive just in time for Dame Penelope Keith (of The Good Life, To the Manor Born and more recently Channel 4’s Hidden Villages fame) to officially open a new bridge as patron of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

For lunch, book a spot at the barbecue at the nearby Three Compasses pub.

At 2pm, a flotilla will gather at Gun’s Mouth, Shalford, before making the 90-minute journey to Dapdune Wharf, Guildford, to the sounds of bells from local churches – just as they did when the canal opened.

For more information on the bicentenary, including a full list of the weekend’s events, visit the Wey & Arun Canal Trust website.

Also this weekend:

Nottingham Canal Festival: 1 October

Walk down into the drained Long Eaton Lock this weekend

Bubbles and boats at Banbury Canal Day

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