Waterways of Sussex
Chichester Canal

Construction started on the Chichester Canal by Act of parliament in 1819. Three years later (1822) it opened, consisting of 2 Locks and 6 Bridges. The canal was 6km long from Birdham the seaward end to Chichester Basin, its principal trade was Coal for the Local Gasworks. The canal never carried the amount of goods it was fist envisaged and as with most canals in Sussex it was abandoned in the period 1868 – 1875. The Chichester city council took over its ownership in 1892 to ensure Chichester connection to the sea remained. In 1906 the last commercial cargo of six tons of shingle was carried from Birdham to Chichester Basin. In 1928 Chichester Council abandon the Canal. West Sussex County Council now owns the rights and ownership of the canal who lease it to the Chichester Canal Society.

From Chichester the canal runs from the large basin at basin road (SU859041) due south under a canal turning bridge and then the Chichester bypass. It continues South for another 2km until it reaches Poyntz bridge (SU864022) and the disused junction of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal. The canal then proceeds West for another 1km to the Donnington road which crosses the canal on a causeway, which was the site of a swing bridge. Continuing west for another 1.2km to another causeway carrying the A286 to Birdham, again a site of a swing bridge.



Padwick Bridge formerly at Hunston was rescued by the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society, moved here, restored and installed on the remaining installation of the former Padwick bridge, located south of Chichester Canal Basin.

500 metre west is Manhood (or Cashers) Lock (SU837010) this is the second of the two locks and is now use to control (using a weir) the water level in the canal. The canal at this point follows a slight ridge known as the Manhood Peninsula. The Locks and Bridges strangely took their names from sponsors of the canal, this lock was known as Casher’s Lock.

Egremont bridge (SU829010) this swing bridge was destroyed in 1941 and thrown in the canal! This along with all the swing bridges on the canal it was made of cast Iron. A few pieces survive and are laying nearby in the grass by the replacement steel foot bridge.

Salterns Lock (SU826011) This the Seaward Lock from Chichester Harbour and the entrance to the canal. It is in full working order and is notable that one set of wooden lock gates (Seaward end) and Cast Iron gates at the canal side. Its main use (infrequently) is for boats to reach a limited number of mooring along the first half mile of the canal.


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