Basingstoke Bridges

Whether you turn to the canal for your daily exercise, or occasionally enjoy the calming water as a place for relaxation, you most likely will have taken for granted the structures you pass over and under on your journey. 

While perhaps not as immediately enchanting as autumnal leaves, there is some unique and fascinating history contained within Basingstoke Canal’s array of bridges. Read on to discover more about the canal’s rich story, and see for yourself why there is so much worth protecting.

Inglis Pipe Bridge

This bridge was designed by, and named after, Sir Charles Inglis OBE and is the only one of its kind still remaining.

Sir Inglis served in the Royal Engineers during WWI and designed this bridge with optimum efficiency in mind. Its unique, lightweight pyramid structure meant it could be transported by manpower alone and assembled quickly to enable troops to cross canals and dry gaps.

‘The only one of its kind still remaining’

This reusable steel system became the precursor to the better-known Bailey Bridge used extensively during WWII. 

Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge in Aldershot (Queen’s Avenue), was first built in 1898 by the Army for the purpose of transporting men and equipment across the canal.

‘Original Victorian decorative features’

Just over a century after its initial construction, it was faithfully refurbished, meaning all its original Victorian decorative features can still be admired today. 

Red Brick Accommodation Bridges

It is a unique design – elliptical in plan and circular in elevation – that gives these gorgeous brick arches their smooth structure.


‘134 meter clear span’

Unlike most aqueducts, Frimley Aqueduct (1839 and 1902), maintains a full width. The Ash Embankment Aqueduct (1995), is an exceptional prestressed, reinforced concrete structure with a 134 meter clear span across the A331 bypass.

Claycart and Eelmoor Bridges

These steel through-truss bridges were used in WWI as they enabled military equipment to cross canals. They were designed by Captain Hopkins, who worked as a railway bridge engineer before the war.

As if these bridges weren’t impressive enough, it is a little-known fact that Basingstoke Canal’s initial survey and feasibility study involved John Smeaton, the ‘father’ of Civil Engineering. However, due to a delay in starting construction, the eventual design of the canal was left to Smeaton’s pupil, William Jessop.

Summary Paragraph:

While the canal’s vibrant and diverse flora and fauna is widely celebrated, less attention is paid to the historical importance of its infrastructure. In this article, we are placing a spotlight on some of these unique structures, as well as the ground-breaking engineers involved in their design.