Towpath Walks by the Basingstoke Canal[Published 1970, 7th edition, 1987]
|THE CHANGING SCENE|
|GENERAL NOTES ON RAMBLES IN THIS BOOKLET|
|Ramble No. 1. The Basingstoke Canal & Wey Navigation via West Byfleet|
|Ramble No. 2. The Basingstoke Canal & Wey Navigation via Pyrford|
|Ramble No. 3. Walking between Stations|
|Ramble No. 4. Ash Barge Yard to Deepcut and back across Great Heath|
|Ramble No. 5. Ash Barge Yard to Farnborough Wharf|
|Ramble No. 6. Fleet to Crookham Swing Bridge and Chequers Bridge|
|Ramble No. 7. Crookham to Dogmersfield|
|Ramble No. 8. Dogmersfield Park from Broad Oak|
|Ramble No. 9. Over the Tunnel|
|Ramble No. 10. Little Tunnel & Brickworks Arm|
|Appendix A. List of Bridges & Locks|
|Appendix B. Public Conveniences|
|Other Publications in this Series|
|The Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society|
Published by: The Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd.
Copyright 1970 SHCS
Cover Design by Dusty Miller
Seventh Edition 1987
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As this Edition of "Towpath Walks by the Basingstoke Canal" goes to the printer, the Canal is divided into two main ownerships, all the Canal lying in Surrey belongs to that County Council. The Canal from the Surrey/Hampshire Border to Greywell belongs to the Hampshire County Council. Beyond Greywell the Canal is in the hands of various owners some of whom have filled it in.
Many thousands of people spend some of their leisure time walking along the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal; some of those people do not fully realise that the towpath is not a Public Right of Way, and while it belongs to the County Councils it is legally Private Property in a similar position to school playgrounds.
Members of the public have been allowed to walk freely upon the towpath by successive owners of the Canal since 1880. Both County Councils have continued this tradition, except for a short section of towpath from Scotland Bridge to the River Wey, which has been closed to the general public since the early 1950's, when the New Basingstoke Canal Company dismantled the footbridge over the Wey Navigation, thus breaking the pedestrian link between the Wey Navigation and Basingstoke Canal Towpaths. In the 1930's, when the Canal, west of Up Nately was finally de-watered and sold off to various separate owners, the towpath in that section was also closed to the public. In the late 1950's, about three-quarters of a mile of towpath from the North Warnborough lift-up bridge to the eastern end of Greywell Tunnel was declared a Public Right of Way. There is also a very short section of towpath at Up Nately forming part of a Public Right of Way.
Today, approximately 30 miles of towpath are open to the public; the entire length is passable, the Hampshire section now has an annual mowing programme and the Surrey section is rapidly coming to the same standard. There are a couple of places prone to getting very wet after heavy rain; for the rest, it is open to enthusiastic pram-pushers. It has a firm surface often of gravel, and except for the short inclines by the 29 locks, is level going and easy walking for the less strenuous.
When people go for walks or rambles in their leisure time, they like to make the return journey over different ground, but when walking in unfamiliar country, it is not always easy to find a different route home; the Ordnance Survey 1 to 50,000 maps mark many footpaths and bridle-ways, but state that this in no way guarantees that they are Public Rights of Way, and most of us have no wish to upset farmers by trespassing, and so in the case of the Canal, we find that having walked a mile or two of towpath, we have to return along the towpath.
The purpose of this booklet is to inform the interested walker of alternative and often attractive routes home. In addition, Hampshire County Council are gradually signposting all Public Footpaths that join the towpath.
The Canal passes through a varying landscape, residential urban areas having sprung up at its eastern end, typical commuter country. Most of the old footpaths in this area have become either roads or narrow alley-ways between the houses, and so the Canal remains as one of the most attractive footpaths the area possesses; it is wide and leafy, and has frequent access points. After leaving the Woking suburbs of Golds-worth and St John's, the Canal enters the Great Heath, which stretches from Brook-wood in Surrey across to Fleet in Hampshire, with the Blackwater valley breaking it in two from north to south. This area is owned by the Ministry of Defence, and whilst open to the public, subject to certain rules and regulations, the majority ot its many paths and tracks are not Public Rights of Way, and hence are not signposted. In fact, the walker with a poor sense of direction can easily get lost, and find himself with a very long walk home, and so as in the residential areas, the Canal towpath remains as one of the principle pedestrian routes in an area that is definitely short of Public Rights of Way. Extensive development in the Blackwater valley has resulted again in footpaths being lost or turned into roads or alley-ways. Between the Blackwater river (the boundary between Hampshire and Surrey) and Crookham Village, there are no Public Rights of Way. It must indeed be very rare in the South of England to find such an area of about 15 sq. miles almost, if not totally, devoid of pedestrian Public Rights of Way. The Canal, of course, continues on its way past the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, and through the Urban area of Fleet. Once in Crookham, the picture changes, however, and we enter rural Hampshire with a network of very attractive footpaths, that stretches to the outskirts of Basingstoke New Town. Some Parish Councils have signposted these footpaths very well indeed, Crookham Village is a good example. Some Parish Councils, such as Mapledurwell, have a footpath warden walking all the footpaths in the Council area, and reporting to the Council on the condition of footpaths. Other Parish Councils appear to take little interest in footpaths; however, these paths are very attractive, and well worth exploring.
It should be borne in mind that the towpath is not a Public Right of Way, but other footpaths detailed in this booklet are, with two exceptions, where the walker is for a short distance trespassing. In each case where we suggest that you trespass, the landowners are believed to be tolerant, provided that you take great care not to do any damage, and to leave the countryside as you find it.
All the paths detailed in this booklet have been walked during the 12 months preceding publication. Public Rights of Way are covered by laws similar to those covering roads, that is they can be closed or diverted temporarily or permanently, but such changes have to be given the necessary public notices etc. If you find a small typed notice by a stile or gate on your path, read it carefully, it will tell you where the diversion goes, and for how long it applies.
No-one may obstruct a Public Right of Way; a farmer erecting a fence must provide a means of getting over it, or the public are entitled to remove the fence, so if you find your path blocked by barbed wire, you have every right to cut the wire, but be careful, be sure you are on the right path, and look carefully at the wire, as many farmers fit it so that it can be un-hooked and opened like a gate.
The walks in this booklet can usually be enjoyed in ordinary walking shoes, but after very heavy rain, hiking boots are sometimes better.
In my experience, young children enjoy country walks better if they are wearing long trousers or jeans, so that they are less troubled by brambles and stinging nettles.
Here's wishing you happy hiking !
THE "COUNTRY CODE" APPLIES TO ALL SORTS OF OPEN SPACES IN URBAN AREAS AS WELL AS RURAL AREAS, AND CERTAINLY APPLIES TO ALL THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL
# GUARD AGAINST ALL RISK OF FIRE
THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL AND THE WEY NAVIGATION VIA WEST BYFLEET (TOTAL DISTANCE 5-1/2 MILES)
Start at West Byfleet station, where there is plenty of car parking at weekends.
A footbridge crosses the railway from the station approach, and the down platform onto the North side of the line, and into a footpath that leads to the Basingstoke Canal towpath in about 400 yards. If you arrive by train on the Up platform, join the footpath without crossing the bridge.
When you reach the towpath, turn left. You are about half-way up the Woodham flight of locks. Follow the towpath for half a mile to Sheerwater Bridge, passing locks 4 and 5. Take a look at lock No. 6, and then turn left down Sheerwater Road, which follow over the railway, and in 1/2 mile turn left at a 'T' junction, into Old Woking Road. In a few yards, turn right into Oakcroft Road; in about 200 yards turn left into a private road, Holly Bank Road. At the end of Holly Bank Road, cross Pyrford Road into Dodds Lane. In 100 yards, Dodds Lane becomes a footpath across arable land, and in 1/2 mile reach Dodds Bridge over the Wey Navigation. Cross the bridge and turn left onto the towpath, and follow it for just over 1-1/2 miles to New Haw lock, passing under Parvis Road Bridge, and the main railway bridge. Just after the railway bridge, you will see the entrance to the Basingstoke Canal. Our walk should cross the Wey at this point, so that we would continue along the Basingstoke towpath, but the bridge is no more and until it is re-built, we must walk an extra mile to get back to the railway station. At New Haw lock, cross the Wey by the road bridge. At the T' junction turn left into Woodham Lane, which follow for 3/4 mile, then turn left into Scotland Bridge Road, and in 1/2 mile cross Scotland Bridge and turn right onto the Basingstoke towpath. The lock by Scotland Bridge is No. 2 of the Woodham Flight. Walk along the towpath to Lock No. 3 and turn left into the footpath, and so back to the station.
THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL AND THE WEY NAVIGATION VIA PYRFORD. (TOTAL DISTANCE 11 MILES)
Follow Ramble No. 1 to Sheerwater Bridge. Pass under the bridge, and continue along the towpath for a further 1-1/2 miles to Monument Bridge. Turn left into Monument Road, pass under the railway bridge, and walk on up Maybury Hill for 3/4 mile to the Maybury Inn. Turn left into Old Woking Road, in 1/4 mile turn right into Shey Copse. At the end of this short road turn left into a footpath running alongside a wire fence. In a 1/4 mile turn right into another footpath that winds uphill through a small wood. Leaving the wood, follow the path uphill through arable land. At the top of the hill we reach a spot suitable for picnics with lovely views over the Wey Valley. Newark Abbey ruins can be seen to the South East about 1 mile away. Follow the path down hill curving to the left and in about 300 yards turn left into an unmade footpath which follow for 3/4 mile to Upshot Lane. Turn right down the lane and in 1/4 mile bear left into Warren Lane. On your way down Upshot Lane you will pass an attractive church on your right. Outside the church cross to the left hand side of the road to avoid crossing into Warren Lane on a dangerous bend. Warren Lane does a sharp left-hand turn in about 1/4 mile, in 100 yards turn right into an unmade lane, then in just over 1/4 mile reach Walsham Lock on the Wey Navigation. Cross the bridge, and turn left onto the towpath. In about a mile, "The Anchor" Public House is reached, and in another 1/2 mile we reach Dodds Bridge, and so return home following Ramble No. 1.
WALKING BETWEEN THE STATIONS
It is not so easy to find interesting round trip walks in the more densely populated urban areas of Woking, but by using the railway, we can save the return walk along the Canal. Walkers are indeed fortunate that four stations, West Byfleet, Woking, Brookwood and Ash Vale, all on the same line, are so close to the Canal.
From West Byfleet Station, reach the Canal as explained in Ramble No. 1.
From Woking Station, leave the "Up" platform side, cross the road and bear right into Chertsey Road, and in about 100 yards turn left into Chobham Road, and reach the Canal in about 300 yards at Hospital Bridge.
From Brookwood Station, bear left across the station yard, cross the main road and enter a narrow lane, and in 100 yards reach the Canal at an old iron toll bridge.
The towpath is attractive walking all the way between the stations. Appendix A at the rear of this booklet will be found useful in keeping one's bearings; it lists all the bridges along the Canal, and gives guidance where you should leave the towpath to get to the nearest station.
The distance between each station is as follows:-
To reach West Byfleet Station leave the towpath by the footpath beside the old lock house at Lock No. 3 (Woodham), and in about 300 yards enter the western side of the Station approach.
To reach Woking Station leave the towpath at Hospital Bridge, walk south down Chobham Road for about 300 yards to a 'T' junction, turn right and reach the Station in about 100 yards.
To reach Brookwood Station leave the towpath at the narrow iron bridge which cross, walk up the lane for 100 yards to the main road, which cross, and enter the station yard.
To reach Ash Vale Station leave the towpath by the path between Ash Vale Boat House and the road/rail bridge. In a few yards the path joins the road, which follow, beside the railway embankment, and reach the station in about 100 yards.
ASH BARGE YARD TO DEEPCUT AND BACK, ACROSS GREAT HEATH (TOTAL DISTANCE - 5 MILES)
This ramble starts from Ash Barge Yard or Ash Vale Station nearby, which can be reached by bus from Camberley, Guildford and Aldershot. Cars can be parked outside the barge yard, but please do not block the gateway. The Barge Yard is reached by turning into Ash Vale Station approach, and crossing the Canal bridge at the top of the slope; the Barge Yard is then immediately on the right, on the non-towpath side.
Join the towpath, and turn to face north. Pass under both road and rail bridges. Follow the towpath past several flashes, and in just under 1/2 mile reach Mytchett Lake. Continue on the towpath under the two road bridges. (Note the quadrant shaped recess in the masonry under the second bridge, a metal safety gate used to lie on the bed of the Canal at this point, and in an emergency a rush of water across the gate would lift the gate into an upright position and stem the flood).
1-1/4 miles from Mytchett Lake, reach a third road bridge, leave the towpath and cross the bridge. Turn down the lane on the left and cross Frimley Aquaduct. Rejoin the towpath and follow it for 3/4 mile to the next road bridge (Deepcut). Pass under the bridge and climb up out of the cutting to join the road. Turn left (south) and cross the railway bridge. In 1/4 mile you will come to a 'T' junction. Cross over and join the footpath opposite, which follow, keeping a chain-link fence on the right hand side. In a 1/4 mile cross the Old Guildford Road, and continue along a wide gravel track across the Great Heath. In 3/4 mile reach a major junction of five gravel tracks, turn right (west) and follow the track, keeping right until reaching a 'T'junction. Turn left (south) and follow the track until some short stout posts appear on the right hand side, then turn right for 300 yards to the road. Turn left along the road, and in 1/4 mile turn right to Mytchett Lake, follow the road over the canal, rejoin the towpath and return to Ash Vale.
ASH BARGE YARD TO FARNBOROUGH WHARF (TOTAL DISTANCE 5-1/2 MILES)
Join the towpath at Ash Vale as explained in Ramble No. 4, but this time turn your back on the road/rail bridge, and follow the towpath past the boat house and Great Bottom Flash. Pass under two road bridges and one rail bridge, and the Canal then crosses the Blackwater valley on a high embankment. You get some pleasant views from the top looking across landscaped disused gravel pits. At the end of the embankment pass under a second railway bridge to reach Gas Works Bridge and Ash Lock, No. 29.
Here we cross the 250ft contour, and reach the Summit Pound of the Canal. Continue along the towpath passing under Silvester's Bridge and Queens Parade to Wharf Bridge. Here leave the towpath and turn right alongside the main road. Walk along the edge of the Sports Field till you reach the Queens Hotel in about 3/4 mile. Turn right and walk through the shopping centre of North Camp, and straight on to North Camp Station. Cross the level crossing, and turn right for 1/2 mile to a mini roundabout then turn right under the railway bridge, and left into the Ash Vale Station approach and so home.
CROOKHAM SWING BRIDGE AND CHEQUERS BRIDGE (TOTAL DISTANCE - ABOUT 5 MILES)
This ramble starts from the Oatsheaf crossroads in Fleet, reached by bus from Aldershot and Reading or Fleet Station. Cars can be parked 100 yards away, in front of Fleet Public Library (free of charge, out of business hours).
From the Oatsheaf, take the road leading south-west towards Crookham, past the police station, down the hill for about 1/4 mile, when the Canal will appear on the left hand side of the road, just before the "Fox & Hounds" Public House.
Turn on to the towpath, and continue in the same general direction for 1-1/4 miles, passing under Coxheath Bridge (note the remains of an older bridge built into the side brickwork) and Malthouse Bridge to the Crookham Swing Bridge. Here we leave the towpath, turning right along an old cart track. On the right among the bushes are the remains of an old bridge keeper's cottage and garden, now very overgrown.
About 100 yards from the canal bank the track becomes a tarmac surface. Follow this lane for 1/2 mile to Poulters Bridge, cross it and turn right. After another 400 yards turn half right into a narrow tree-lined footpath, in 100 yards reach a road. Turn right towards Crookham Village, and in about 100 yards cross the canal by Chequers Bridge. (Thirsty souls will find the Chequers Public House about 100 yards further on the right hand side of the road). Turn right now on to the towpath, leaving Crookham Wharf behind you on the other side of the bridge. Walk along the path past Crookham winding hole, along the embankment known as Crookham Deeps (mind the fishing tackle). Pass under Poulters Bridge to the swing bridge again.
Turn left down the same track as before, but when you reach the beginning of the tarmac, turn right along an unmade track until it enters a field. Follow the right hand edge of the field for a few yards until you are close to the canal again, and a well-defined footpath coming across the middle of the field. Take this footpath into Crookham Village. Push-chair drivers turn right and take the first road left just before Malthouse Bridge, and follow the road back to Fleet.
Walkers who would like to see more of Crookham Village should turn left on entering the village street, and in 300 yards bear right, then in 100 yards turn right into Hitches Lane. In a little over 1/4 mile turn right on to a public footpath for Fleet. Keep left of the field (it is usually under cultivation) to stile. Climb over onto a farm track turn half left and walk towards some red brick houses and in about 50 yards climb another stile into a narrow lane. In 100 yards cross a footbridge over a stream into a modern housing estate. Follow the road for a few yards crossing the end of Frere Avenue, and then bear left down a footpath to Fleet Road, turn left and return to the Oatsheaf.
This route crosses itself in several places, and hence can be easily shortened.
CROOKHAM TO DOGMERSFIELD (TOTAL DISTANCE - 4 MILES)
This ramble starts from Crookham or Chequers Wharf by Crookham Bridge near to "The Chequers" Public House in Crondall Lane, Crookham Village. The wharf is now a public car park. Crookham Village can also be reached by bus from Aldershot and Fleet Railway stations.
If you arrive by car, having parked rejoin the road and turn left away from the canal bridge and in about 300 yards turn left onto an unmade road beside the little River Hart which is on your right.
If you arrive in the village by bus, leave the village centre by the road running south west, towards Crondall. Follow this road for about 500 yards until two streams have been crossed. Turn right into an unmade road beside the little River Hart which is on your right. In about 150 yards climb over a stile in the hedge on the left hand side. Cross the field ahead diagonally right to another stile. Cross this stile. At this point directions become a little difficult because the farmer has removed a number of hedges that provided land marks for the walker, he has also ploughed the ground so that the route of the footpath is unclear at certain times of the year. Therefore follow these instructions carefully, stand with your back to the stile, ahead of you you will see a number of electricity power lines, your path lies slightly diagonally left and is directly towards that pylon which is lowest on the horizon. The route is slightly uphill across the field, diverging slightly from the right hand hedge, as you pass under the first power line you should be about 30 yards from the hedge, pass over the hill and walk down through a gap in the woods to cross the tiny River Hart.
Follow the track for 50 yards or so and bear right across a second bridge in a few more yards enter an unmade lane that serves some houses. Just past the houses find a stile in the left hand hedge. Cross and turn half right to a second stile, cross and turn half left and walk up a slope heading for the nearest tall electricity pylon. Before reaching the pylon you will find a gateway in a field boundary, pass through the gate and walk across the fields to a metalled road in Dogmersfield. On reaching the road, cross it and follow the track down the right hand side of Double Bridge Farm. After about 250 yards you will come to Blacksmiths Bridge, formerly called Blacksmiths Shop Bridge.
At this point the ramble turns back to Crookham, but enthusiasts can cross the bridge and ramble on across Dogmersfield Park; to return to Crookham, turn left on to the towpath and follow it under Double Bridge, past the sites of the old swing bridge, and Coxmoor Bridge and across the embankment over the River Hart and so back to Chequers Bridge. Leave the towpath and turn left and return to Crookham Village or your car.
TO DOGMERSFIELD PARK FROM BROAD OAK (TOTAL DISTANCE - 3-1/2 MILES)
This ramble starts from Broad Oak Green, reached by turning off the A287 Odiham - Farnham Road. Buses from Basingstoke and Aldershot pass the beginning of the lane. You can park on the green at the end of the lane, just to the south of Broad Oak Bridge.
Standing in the lane and facing north, turn right to the north-east corner of the green and take a track through the trees. Cross a small bridge over Broad Oak Stream and carry on along the canal bank (not towpath) with a meadow on your right, at the end of the meadow bear right following a path that runs parallel to the meadow boundary but some yards from it. In a few yards come to the wall of Dogmersfield Park which you follow, keeping the wall on your left. In about 1/2 mile you reach the gates of the park, turn left through the gates between two white cottages, follow the gravel drive through woodland and out into the field and over a hill to a large black barn, over the stile and into a large area of meadow. Follow the right hand fence for about 250 yards and then, as the path curves away to the right, strike off across the meadow towards the lake over a stile, turn left. Make for the bridge crossing the lake. 75 yards before reaching it, turn left over a stile into a ploughed field keeping the lake on your right hand side. In 1/4 mile you reach Sprats Hatch Farm*, climb a stile in front of the red-brick farmhouse and enter a lane. Turn left and follow the track to a Canal bridge which cross, and turn left and scramble down on to the towpath. Follow the towpath under Sandy Hill Bridge, through the remains of Pillars Bridge (which was timber on brick piles and fell down in about 1930). In 1/4 mile find Wilks Water, a pretty lake on the right hand side. One of the houses near the lake is the home of Sir Michael Redgrave, and the area was featured in the film 'The Charge of the Light Brigade". Another 1/4 mile will bring you to Broad Oak Bridge. Cross it, and return to the start of the ramble.
* Energetic types can add a further two miles by turning right at Sprats Hatch Farm and walking about one mile along the lane to Barley Mow Bridge, and then turning left on to the towpath and passing under Staceys Bridge and Baseleys Bridge to the bridge near Sprats Hatch Farm. Then follow the original route.
"OVER THE TUNNEL"
This ramble starts in Greywell village, reached on foot from Hook Station 1-3/4 miles away, or by a rather infrequent bus service from Odiham or Basingstoke. Cars can be parked in the village near the village hall, or you could ask permission to park at "The Fox and Goose". Standing outside "The Fox and Goose", at the 'T' junction, start to walk down the road opposite and almost immediately (after 15-20 yards) turn left up a grassy bank to a narrow footpath. In about 30-40 yards cross the eastern portal of Greywell Tunnel. There were in earlier times extensive timber yards on the Canal bank in this area, but there is little if any trace to be seen today.
Having seen the eastern portal of the tunnel, re-trace your steps to "The Fox and Goose", at the 'T' junction turn right towards Hook, and in 40-50 yards find a stile in the left hand hedge. Cross the stile and enter a narrow track between high hedges. The track enters a small copse, keep straight on through the copse into a field. Cross the field, going straight uphill, climb over the fence and enter a second field. Carry straight on up the hill passing a line of mature oak trees and at the top of the hill you will come to a wood. Find a gate to a cart track into the wood. Follow the track, keeping Greywell Hill House and outbuildings on your left. This track winds gently downhill through the wood past several ponds which have contributed to the collapse of the tunnel. There are several cross tracks which you should ignore.
Your path is running parallel to the tunnel and about 100 yards south of the tunnel line, as the hill flattens out your path passes between fields on the south side and woods on the north. As you pass the third field look to your right and you will look down into the cutting at the western end of the tunnel. In summer time foliage will make it difficult to see much. The side of the cutting has slipped into the Canal, the ground being very soft clay, which was a constant source of trouble in the Canal's early days. The land around is private, I do not recommend that you hunt for the tunnel at this point. Continue along a well established but sometimes muddy track to a tarmac road. The adventurous can turn right to seek the tunnel otherwise turn left for a few yards to a 'T' junction on the Greywell to Basingstoke Road. Turn left and walk over the hill back to Greywell.
Tunnel hunters turn right on the tarmac road as mentioned above and follow it until the metalling runs out then continue for a few yards on a green lane to Eastrop Bridge. Turn right along a very, very overgrown towpath and you will come to the collapsed tunnel portal in about 350 yards.
BRICKWORKS ARM AND LITTLE TUNNEL BRIDGE (TOTAL DISTANCE - 2-1/2 MILES)
This ramble starts from Up Nately Church; park the car nearby in a lay-by, in front of some bungalows. Walk west away from the Church, follow the road for 1/4 mile until it crosses the bed of the Canal (site of Penney Bridge). In 300 yards turn left onto a cart track, and in 1/4 mile reach Little Tunnel Bridge. Having examined the bridge, retrace your steps to Up Nately cross roads, where turn left, cross Brick Kiln Bridge. Here you can either turn left onto the towpath and pass under the bridge and follow the towpath (which is very, very overgrown) to Brickworks Arm, or walk on along the road for another 20-30 yards, and then turn right up a cart-track that runs along the top of the canal cutting. This cart-track is used as a junk yard, don't be put off, press on and when the track enters a field turn right through the trees onto the towpath. Follow the towpath up to the entrance to the Brickworks Arm, ignore any notices about private property, you are on a public footpath. Climb the fence and walk along the left-hand side of the Canal Arm. Now the public footpath runs through a private garden, please be quiet and keep to the path. At the end of the Canal Arm turn right, walk through the garden, past the house and down the drive to double gates in a high fence. When you are through the gates shut them, and turn right down the lane until you reach Slades Bridge. Here turn left onto the towpath, which follow to the next bridge, cross the bridge and follow the lane for 200 yards and when it takes a sharp left turn you turn right into a public footpath across the fields back to Nately Church.
BRIDGES AND LOCKS
There is access to the Canal at every bridge, except Coxmoor Bridge which carries a private track, and to anyone travelling along the Canal, bridges and locks are landmarks of importance. Practically all the bridges on the Canal have names, some have more than one name. Unlike many Canals, the bridges on this waterway are not marked with a number. The locks on this Canal generally have no names, only numbers, but these numbers were originally not shown. Several locks are known by the name of the nearest bridge. The list below gives all bridges and locks in order, starting from the eastern end. It also gives the date of the bridge where known, and any other names that the bridge is known by.
River Wey Junction Bridge - original brick arch removed when railway widened from
2 to 4 tracks circa 1900. Timber bridge removed circa 1954.
Then in order the following have completely disappeared.
Mapledurwell Swing Bridge
Public Conveniences will be found near the following bridges:-
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Guide to the Basingstoke Canal, by Dieter Jebens and Roger Cansdale. A descriptive guide to the towpath walk.
The Society was formed in 1966 to campaign for public ownership and restoration of the Basingstoke Canal which was at that time privately owned.
Both Hampshire and Surrey county councils acknowledged the wide amenity value of the 32-mile waterway, and with the active support of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society to restore the navigation, they agreed to purchase it.
By 1976, following protracted negotiations leading to compulsory purchase orders, the two county councils acquired their respective lengths of the canal. Today, with the aid of voluntary labour organised by the Society and Job Creation schemes, the canal is being restored for use as a multi-purpose recreational amenity.
Apart from organising voluntary working parties, the Society has an active social programme throughout the year and publishes a regular Newsletter. If you would like to join the Society or find out more about it, please send a stamped addressed envelope to: The Membership Secretary.
Last updated March 2006