Visual journey along the River Adur

The lock gates that mark the start of The Canal in Southwick. Picture: Liz Pearce S33077H13
The lock gates that mark the start of The Canal in Southwick. Picture: Liz Pearce S33077H13

The Southwick Society’s talks season continues on Monday with Geoffrey’s illustrated talk about the River Adur, from its source to the sea.

Secretary Nigel Divers said: “The Adur is integral to life in Shoreham and Southwick and has been for hundreds of years.

The tranquil scene by the bridleway bridge in Henfield. Picture: Malcolm McCluskey G35004H7

The tranquil scene by the bridleway bridge in Henfield. Picture: Malcolm McCluskey G35004H7

“Geoffrey is an extremely knowledgeable historian and geographer and a master of his subject. I have no doubt that his talk and pictures will be absolutely fascinating for everybody interested in our heritage.”

People will be taken on a visual journey from the sources of the river in central Sussex, through the broad plains of the Wealden clays and sands, before heading south through the Downs and on to the coastal plain of West Sussex, ending its journey at the current river mouth in Kingston Buci.

This talk looks at the geology, geography and history of this small but fascinating watercourse, which has had such profound effects on Southwick and Shoreham.

Once a wide estuary, the Adur gave rise to the Saxon port of Steyning, which was displaced in Norman times by the great port of New Shoreham, which became one of the greatest in medieval England.

An aerial view of River Adur at Shoreham and Upper Beeding, showing the flooded flood-plain near the cement works

An aerial view of River Adur at Shoreham and Upper Beeding, showing the flooded flood-plain near the cement works

Silting and the eastward drift of the beach turned the river to the east, passing through Southwick, Portslade and Aldrington to reach the sea at Hove.

Shoreham’s long decline was arrested in the 1850s when a lock was built in Southwick to turn the eastern arm of the river into a great dock, or floating harbour, now known as The Canal.

Although the river now reaches the sea at Kingston Buci, Southwick and the bulk of the modern harbour stand on the ‘ghost’ of the River Adur.

Geoffrey studied geography at the University of Sussex as a mature student then went on to take an MA in local and regional history.

He was working as a part-time adult education tutor in landscape studies and later gained his doctorate in geography.

He now works as part of the training team for the South Downs National Park volunteer ranger service.

The talk will be held at Southwick Community Centre, Southwick Street, Southwick, on Monday at 7.30pm. Admission is £4, £2 for society members.

The Southwick Society is a charity working for the town’s environment, enhancement and heritage. It restored and operates the historic Manor Cottage Heritage Centre in Southwick Street.

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