Paddleboarders stand up for river rights

The River Arun was a riot of colour recently as a flotilla made up of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards navigated from Pulborough and Stopham to the tidal limit at Pallingham, West Sussex.

The annual river rally was organised by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust and attracted more than 30 small crafts. More than half were paddleboarders, illustrating the surge in popularity of the sport.

The three-and-a-half hour trip celebrated a long tradition of boats navigating a river which was once part of a route from London to the South Coast. The event aims to demonstrate that the River Arun is still a navigable waterway, proving that navigation rights still exist.

The route took in the junction of the canal with the river and headed to Pallingham Quay, the furthest navigable point for boats on the route.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust chairman Sally Schupke said the good weather helped make the rally “good fun for all involved” and recent rain meant even shallow sections were easy to navigate. She added: “The aim of the Trust is to restore the Wey & Arun Canal and that ticks all the boxes: heritage, environment and leisure.”

The Wey & Arun Canal Trust is restoring the 23-mile canal between Pallingham in West Sussex and the junction with the River Wey navigation in Shalford, Surrey. Its restoration work has meant parts of the canal are now well used by canoeists, kayakers and, more frequently, paddleboarders. Day licences are available at the restored section in Loxwood, West Sussex. Head to our website at for more information, or visit the Loxwood canal centre (High St, Loxwood, West Sussex RH14 0RD, tel: 01403 753999, open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 4pm).


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