In recent months around three times the usual number of locals have discovered or returned to the Canal as a place to improve their physical and mental wellbeing in nature, whether to exercise or simply enjoy the quiet spaces. It is a very clear message that we all really value this wonderful, freely accessible and varied outdoor space that is right on our doorstep.
Your Basingstoke Canal : The future is uncertain
However, the future of the Canal is increasingly at riskas many local council budgets have become stretched – and that’s unlikely to change. In our role as a charity, supported entirely by around 250 volunteers, it’s important that we ALL do as much as we can to improve the canal and help it develop as a leisure destination for individuals, clubs, families and nature enthusiasts to enjoy.
Did you know?
The County Councils (Hampshire and Surrey) and local Riparian Councils primarily spend money on keeping the canal safe and protecting local residents. There is limited money to spend on other opportunities.
It is therefore vital that the Canal Society continues the work to provide volunteer support, and without this work, which is only made possible thanks to the money we receive, the Canal could face decline and we could lose key sections that can never be recovered.
The ways to enjoy the canal are endless: boating, canoeing and kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, walking, fishing and angling, wildlife spotting and photography, cycling, running and for historical reasons. So many of the people who take part in these activities need a beautiful, clean, safe and accessible space and yet so many of them have no idea that the canal cannot be taken for granted. Despite the status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as designated by Natural England, it needs funding – as well as appreciation.
Planned initial investments
To answer the challenges to the future of the Canal we have a number of exciting projects which will improve the attractiveness of the canal for all users, including:
- 10 Information Signs along the canal
- Increased mooring facilities at Odiham
- Replacement 12 passenger electric boat at Woking to include disabled access.
Our first project, costing around £20,000, is the 10 Information Signs which will be placed at regular points throughout the full length of the canal, helping people to understand the local history of that stretch, and improve the quality of visitor experience with informational maps marking car parking sites, villages, ways and rules of using and enjoying the canal and how to support its’ future.
So, how can you support the Canal?
1. Make a one-off donation to fund our Information Signs Project
2. Become a Member of Basingstoke Canal Society
3. Tell your friends, family, colleagues about the canal, the society and the ways they can support it
Your support is highly valued and we’ll keep you updated about the progress of this project fundraising as well as write to you with more information on our next project drives.
Don’t forget: we also need lots more local people involved by becoming a member of the Canal Society. It costs just £15 per person, £20 for a household and £30 for a group, for a year. You can Become a Member now if you aren’t already – and invite your friends, family and colleagues by sending them the link.