Chichester Ship Canal
Just 4½ miles long and connected only to the sea, the Chichester Canal is an unusual survivor of the great waterway age. Slowly it is being brought back to life by the Chichester Ship Canal Trust, adding charm to one of the south coast’s most historic and elegant cities. The project’s biggest leap forward came in 2007 when a new residential development overlooking the basin gained planning permission. This included a generous Section 106 grant that paid for a new canal centre at the heart of the basin. Completed in 2012, the development included a shop, café and heritage centre, and transformed business.
In 2016 the trust commissioned a brand-new wide-beam 22-seater trip-boat, Kingfisher, which is fully wheelchair accessible, with disabled toilets. Together with the trust’s second 32-seater trip-boat, Richmond, nearly 15,000 passengers are carried on the canal annually.
During 2020 and 2021, the Covid pandemic saw many people enjoying the canal for both physical and mental health, exploring locally, and gaining a new appreciation for this secret little waterway. Paddleboarding and canoeing licences reached record high numbers. In 2020 the canal trust embarked on an ambitious fundraising campaign to secure £200,000 to address the most urgent restoration of the canal banks, to keep the towpath and waterway safe for all users. In 2022, with the bicentennial celebration of the first formal opening of the canal in April 1822, a season of anniversary events is planned to help people discover more about the unique heritage and habitat. Events will include an art partnership, cultural events, photographic competition, family activities, guided walks, hosted talks and a community celebration.