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Nature's Park Viewing Platform Officially Opened

Hunt Nature Park opening ceremony 24.10.15

A PICNIC area where people will eventually be able to watch a canal being restored was officially opened on Saturday 24th October 2015. Around 100 people watched Guildford MP Anne Milton (left) launch the outdoor dining site – on a viewing platform in Hunt Nature Park, alongside the A281 Horsham Road at Shalford.

Mrs Milton unveiled a commemorative plaque in the centre of the unusual hexagonal decking, which is in a wildlife park created by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust (WACT). The platform, on the route of the waterway being restored by the trust, currently offers views across the Cranleigh Waters stream to veteran oak trees, meadowland and shallow ponds.

But Philip Oliver (pictured right), manager of WACT’s Bramley Link project, told the crowd it would be an ideal place to watch the canal being re-created when the time comes. Explaining the Trust’s plans for bringing the canal back to life in the area, he said the park demonstrated the commitment to creating a ‘green corridor’ along the length of the waterway.

The Trust’s chairman, Sally Schupke, also stressed the intention of extending the linear park down towards Bramley. “It’s great to be providing facilities which benefit the people of Guildford, Shalford, Bramley and the surrounding villages and the many people who come here on the Wey-South Path,” she said.

Mrs Milton declared the viewing platform open following entertainment by a lively local band and the serving of refreshments to those present. She praised the work of the Trust in establishing the park as part of its plan to restore the Wey & Arun Canal from Shalford to Pallingham in West Sussex. “There are wonderful views from here and I hope people come and enjoy this excellent facility which is so close to the centre of Guildford,” she added.

Hunt Nature Park is on land leased by WACT from Surrey County Council. It is being developed using a bequest from Trust supporters Doris and Hunt.

Restoration of the first stretch of the canal’s Bramley Link recently received a major boost with the signing of a lease to use farmland owned by Susan and Malcolm Brenton.