River Arun

in Littlehampton, United Kingdom

Category: Attraction

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Coastguard Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17, UK
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N50° 48' 5" W0° 32' 31"   (50.801388888889, -0.54194444444444)
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The Arun is a river in the English county of West Sussex. Its source is a series of small streams in the St Leonard's Forest area, to the east of Horsham. After flowing through Horsham to the west, it is joined by the North River at Nowhurst. Turning to the south, it is joined by its main tributary, the western River Rother, and continues through Arundel and past Arundel Castle, to join the English Channel at Littlehampton. The Arun local government district in West Sussex is named after it. It is one of the faster flowing rivers in England, and is tidal as far inland as Pallingham Quay, 25.5 miles (41.0 km) upstream from the sea at Littlehampton.
The first major improvements to the river were made between the 1540s and the 1570s, when Arundel became a port, and navigation up to Pallingham was improved, but barges had difficulty negotiating the flash locks that were installed. The work was carried out by Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel, who made the upper section toll-free. Harbour commissioners managed the lower river from Arundel to the sea from 1732, and major improvements to keep the estuary free from silt were sanctioned by an Act of Parliament obtained in 1793. With the coming of the railways and changes in coastal shipping, Littlehampton superseded Arundel as the port of the Arun, and the Littlehampton harbour commissioners are still responsible for the river up to Arundel, collecting tolls for its use.
The river above Arundel was improved after 1785. As the main channel was toll-free, the proprietors of the scheme built two major cuts. One, which included three locks and passed through Hardham Tunnel, was built to avoid a large bend near Pulborough. The other was near the upper terminus, where a cut with three locks crossed the original channel by an aqueduct to reach wharves at Newbridge. Further improvements were made when the Wey and Arun Canal opened in 1816, joining the Arun at Newbridge, and after the completion of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, which opened soon afterwards. These two canals were an attempt to provide an inland route between London and Portsmouth, but were not as successful as the proprietors hoped. Traffic declined rapidly when the railways offered competition, and the navigation ceased to be maintained from 1888, though some traffic continued on the lower sections. The Wey and Arun Canal is currently being restored, and restoration will eventually include the cut and locks below Newbridge.


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River Arun

Address: Coastguard Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17, UK