Mar-Apr 1972

        Selected items
Councils seek ownership
Committee Notes
Diary & Events
Working Party
River Wey Cruise
All about Jumble
Ramblers' Corner
Renewal time

Contact the Society


bcnmsthd39 (11K)

Newsletter No. 43         President: The Earl of Onslow             March-April 1972

Surrey and Hampshire County Councils are to be asked to give their authority for the making of Compulsory Purchase Orders on the Basingstoke Canal, which runs through both counties, so that it can be restored for recreational use for the community.

This move follows the failure of prolonged negotiations between the two county councils and the owners to reach agreement on the sale of the canal.

For several years there has been a strong expression of public opinion that the Hampshire and Surrey stretches of the canal should he brought into public ownership with a view to restoration for the benefit of the growing number of people interested in outdoor recreation in general and water pursuits in particular, and also to prevent its continuing deterioration.

The two county councils authorised negotiations with the canal owners in 1970 in order to discover the terms on which they would be willing to sell the canal.

Surrey's County Valuer and Estates Surveyor, who has been conducting the negotiations on behalf of both councils, has now reported that he is unable to reach an agreement on price with the canal owners, Neither have various alternative methods of agreeing a basis for valuation been acceptable to the owners.

In this situation, the two county councils are to be asked to authorise Compulsory Purchase Orders under the provisions of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949.

This is the full text of the Press release issued by Surrey County Council on 7th February 1972. Hampshire County Council has already agreed to apply for a Compulsory Purchase Order; Surrey County Council's town planning committee will discuss it when it meets on March 23.

The New Basingstoke Canal Company was quick to reply to the Press statement, making various allegations about the society which have been answered by letters to the Press and by a letter from our solicitors to the canal company. The company raised the same hoary old arguments against full restoration, and declared that if the county councils planned to restore the canal to navigation, they would oppose the CPO. Any member who is worried about allegations made by the canal company is advised to read the Committee Notes on Page 2.

The news resulted in some lively exchanges of letters in correspondence columns, with some members having some excellent letters published. Thanks particularly to our member Mr. B. G. Youlton of Woodham, whose suggestion that the canal company's solicitor should "imbibe the contents of those dryer stretches of stinking morass in the height of next summer" is worthy of mention.

The reference in the Press statement to the "strong expression of public opinion" can only relate to the society's 5 1/2 year campaign. There can be no clearer indication that the campaign has been worth while, that the county councils have taken notice of what we have said. We would like to thank all those members who have stuck with us during some very depressing times.

To get the county councils to agree to a CPO is one thing - to convince them that full restoration is the answer for the Basingstoke ia another. To do this, we need your support. With it, the committee will do all it can to make sure that the counties come to the right decision. What will eventually happen to the canal has not yet been decided. If full restoration is the answer, the counties will undoubtedly look to us to provide the ideas and the manpower. With your help, we shall be delighted to give it.

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Once again the canal company is using the "power boat" theme to condemn the society and our restoration plans. This has worried a number of members, and probably some members of the public as well. The committee has asked me to spell out once again exactly what our policies are - and why.

First, we do not talk about "power boats" which are nasty, noisy things that rip around the coast at high speed with a girl in tow. We talk about motor cruisers, which have small engines, are quiet, and cruise on inland waterways at a maximum speed of 4 knots, 2 knots on embankments, i.e. walking pace and slower on embankments.

Secondly, we agree that engines pollute water. So do children that paddle. Outboard motors do not cause any serious pollution, they are used extensively on the Thames (one of the world*s cleanest rivers) and on all canals, one of which, the Llangollen, is very busy yet its water is used for drinking. So the canal company is just scaremongering on that one.

Thirdly, why do we want boats with motors anyway? Boats, particularly big ones, disturb a lot of water and this keeps silt in suspension in the water. So the bigger the boat the better — within reason. This is good for the canal, it aerates the water, stops silt settling on the bottom, restricts weed growth and this means beautifully balanced water which is good for fish and wild life generally.

No boats mean a canal as we see it today, and that is certainly not healthy. Some of you may remember the scores of fish that died at Crookham last year, and little of the canal is worth fishing these days. Big boats mean motors because people can't use them without motors - there just aren't enough horses to go round.

You may hear people mumbling about bank wash being caused by boats and this is true but not serious unless of course boats are badly handled. Bank damage is caused by cows in Hampshire, thoughtless anglers, swans, rats, and even the wind. Bank wash is more serious in badly silted waterways, there being less water volume to absorb disturbance of the water. This can be considerably reduced by leaving a belt of reeds growing along the canal banks.

On the subject of bank wash, the British Waterways Board is having a study carried out to pinpoint the causes and possible cures of wash from pleasure craft. The study will concentrate on hull form and propulsion. We may therefore expect that boats of the future will be so designed as to cause the minimum damage through wash. Motor cruisers are used all over the national waterways system. The Basingstoke Canal is not special in any way and there is no good reason why it should not be used in the same way, once it has been put in good order.

Within hours of Hampshire County Council accepting the recommended issuing of a compulsory purchase order, representatives of the council had contacted the society to arrange a meeting to discuss the next steps.

On Friday, March 3, Mr. David Pumfrett, chairman of the county council's Countryside Committee, vice-chairman Mr. Robert Bostock and County Land Agent Mr. Colin Bonsey met your President and committee. The discussion was wide ranging. It appears that Hampshire might be able to take possession in anything between two and twelve months, it is expected that Surrey County Council will have additional complications and may take up to two years to sort them out. The purpose of the meeting was to set your committee planning in greater detail the work to be done in Hampshire and this we shall certainly be doing.

We were greatly encouraged by the meeting and by the very friendly approach made by the county council. We will give you further details as they become available. Many thanks to those of you who have written encouraging letters to the chairman and committee recently. We can't answer all of them, but they are very much appreciated.


The result of the ballot to elect the 1972-73 cosmiittee, as announced at the Annual General Meeting, was as follows:
Elected -
Alan Babisier, 31 Elmsleigh Boad, Cove, Farnborough ........................ 321
Jeff Holman, 22 Willow Green, West End, Woking ............................. 318
David Gerry, 10 Fairland Close, Fleet ................................................ 313
Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking .................... 311
Peter Youngs, The Coppice, Upper Chobham Road, Camberley .......... 283
Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholson, 1 Kielder Walk, Beatherside, Camberley ..... 282
David Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet ................................................ 277
Mrs. Glenys Crocker, 6 Burwood Close, Merrow, Guildford ................. 274
John Edmondson, School House, School Lane, Bagshot .................... 242

Not Elected -
John Dodwell, lla Hale Gardens, London, W.3. .................................. 239

A total of 340 ballot papers were returned, and a total of 2,860 votes were cast. Officers elected at the first committee meeting after the AGM were as follows:

Chairman: David GerrySocial Secretary; David Robinson
Vice-chairman: Robin HiggsPublicity Officer: Dieter Jebens
Secretary: Mrs. Elizabeth NicholsonNewsletter Editor: Miss June Sparey
Treasurer: Mr. Peter YoungsMachinery foreman: Bob Humphrey
Membership Secretary: Mr. Alan BabisterSales Manager: Mr. Tony Jarrett
Working Party Organisers Jeff Holman (who will be taking over from Peter Walker)
Mr. Dodwell is thanked for all the hard work he has put in during his time on the committee. We hope his expert advice will still be available to us in future. The Newsletter Editor apologies to Mr. Peter Youngs, for referring to him as "Philip Youngs" throughout the last newsletter and on the ballot paper.
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Saturday-Sunday, March 25-26: Ashton Attack working party. See Page 4.
Sunday March 26: Farnham Ramblers Association ramble. Meet Fleet Library, 11 am. See Page 8.
Monday, March 27: Members' "pub" evening at The Swan, Hutton Road, Ash Vale. See below.
Sunday April 9: Society ramble, New Haw to Guildford along the River Wey. Meet Byfleet and New Haw station, 10 am. See Page 8.
Wednesday April 12: Evening of short films at The Standard of England, Ash Hill Road, Ash, 8 pm. See below.
Sunday, April 16: Working party, Ash Vale Barge Yard (adjacent to Ash Vale Station), 10 am. See Page 4.
Wednesday, April 19: Public meeting, Basingstoke Town Eall, 8 pm. Chairman: Mr. David Pumfrett, chairman of Hampshire County Council's Countryside Committee. It is also hoped that Lady Redgrave, one of our vice-presidents, will be a speaker at this meeting.
Monday, April 24: Members' "pub" evening, The Swan, Hutton Road, Ash Vale.
Wednesday, May 3: Public meeting, St. John's Church Hall, Camphill Road, West Byfleet, 8 pm.
Sunday, May 7: River Wey cruise for council officials. See Page 5.
Sunday, June 11: Society ramble, meet Guildford Station 2 pm. More details in next newsletter.
Summer - sometime: Kennet and Avon Canal cruise on Charlotte Dundas. See below.
Sunday, August 13: South of England Country Sports Fair, IRA Ranges, Bisley. Events include shooting, archery, gun dog tests, pet classes, dry fishing, BOAC air balloon. Any members willing to help in traffic control or entry control, or requiring a trade stand please get in touch with Lt. Col. D. A. G. Norton-Smith, Montrose, Sheet's Heath, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey.


Mondays at The Swan are now a regular feature of our diary, being held on the last Monday of every month. Our third pub evening, on February 28, was a great success with around 45 members attending for a most enjoyable evening. This is an excellent opportunity for members to meet, exchange and air views and ideas - and have a pint. If you don't know where The Swan is, phone Alan Babister at Farnborough 46147 and he will send you a map.

An evening of short films has been arranged for April 12 at the Standard of England, Ash Hill Hoad, Ash (on the A.3011 just south of Ash Wharf) at 8 pm. It is hoped to show the following films (l) Under the River (l959); (2) The World of Waterways (1970); (3) There Go the Boats (l95l); and have a natter at the bar afterwards. Please try and turn up - if the evening is a success a series of film evenings and talks will be arranged for next winter. If you don't know where the pub is, ring David Robinson on Fleet 21376.

A summer outing is being planned for this summer to Pewsey for a trip on the Charlotte Dundas along the Kennet and Avon Canal. This will be limited to 28 people. Firm details next newsletter, but please let David Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet (Fleet 21376) know NOW if you definitely want to book seats. First come, first served.

Public meetings are scheduled for Basingstoke and West Byfleet. As usual, members living in these areas will be asked if they could help with a leaflet distribution to publicise the meeting. Offers of help in this respect from other members who live outside these areas but are prepared to do their bit will be welcomed by Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Cove, Farnborough, Hants. (Farnborough 46147).

Scene; Bar, George Hotel, Odiham. Discerning military-looking gentleman orders a pink gin. Barmaid: "Malvern water, isn't it sir?". Reply: "Oh yes, Malvern or Basingstoke Canal - anything will do".

Contributed by member Mrs Jutta Manser of Southampton.
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March 25-26 is the weekend set aside for a mammoth working party with the prime aim of clearing one of the most difficult sections of the Ashton, Lower Peak Forest and Huddersfield Narrow Canals at Dukinfield Junction. About 800 volun­teers are expected for this "Ashton Attack" - and we hope that a good proportion of them will come from our society.

The Cheshire Ring has now become the test case for the value of voluntary work. And it must be open before the proposed Government reorganisation of water under­takings comes into force. The British Waterways Board is backing this project, and making available some mechanical plant for volunteers to use.

If you want to join this exciting exercise, please contact Jeff Holman, 22 Willow Green, West End, Woking, Surrey (tel. Brookwood 3034) quickly. Perhaps you cannot help physically, but would still like to show your support for it, in which case donations can be made to John Dodwell, Ashton Attack Treasurer, Inland Waterways Association, 314 Begents Park Road, London N.W.l. The weekend's work cannot cost less than £1,000 - even with BWB's assistance. If you do send a donation, please make cheques and postal orders payable to "Ashton Attack".

June 17-18 is the date set aside for our second visit to the Bath Locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal. The K and A are well equipped and mechanised. Only bodies are needed. Please contact Clem Hebert, The Grange, Hook, Hampshire (tel. Hook 2438) know if you are coming.

April 16 will see a working party on the land we use at Ash Vale. The barge yard is getting rather scruffy and overgrown and the sheds could do with some tidying up inside as well. Start 10 am - and a good turn out please!

By 10 am on Sunday January 16 25 society members were busy digging Kennet and Avon Canal silt from the pound between Locks 10 and 11 of the Widcombe Flight in Bath. Other members had descended into Lock 11 to help local K & A members remove about 4 ft. of silt in preparation for BWB men to repair the cills and re-gate the lock. By mid-morning the inevitable rain was falling and the stop for beer and pies in a nearby "grotty type" pub was very welcome. By 4 pm the lock was clear and a large amount of mud had been removed from the area around the pound wall, in preparation for its inspection and repair. The Bath section of the K & A has a good selection of plant. With this, and the use of a hire crane and the considerable effort of everyone, the trip was very worth while. BWB have now re-gated and completed Lock 11. Why not come on the next visit to Bath? (see above)

Stratford: On February 12-13, 15 SHCS members turned out for a highly successful weekend. The task was to clear a lock chamber of bricks, vegetation etc. and to assist in the rebuilding of a retaining wall beneath the Edstone Aqueduct. During Saturday considerable trouble was experienced in attempting to pump out the lock; hence on Sunday we worked "wet", i.e. knee deep. Despite this, the lock was finished off by 3 pm and two lock keys were retrieved as bonuses for the lads.

On Sunday, as well as the lock, half our number (including two girls) helped the Waterways Recovery Group contingent to build the wall, and by mid-afternoon the maximum number of blocks had been laid. It is hoped our visit to Stratford will be repeated in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, our thanks to Claire Johnstone for an excellent fried chicken dinner on Saturday night.

A volunteer for the post of Transport Manager. He must have a phone and a car. Briefly he will need to arrange lifts for navvies to working parties, ensure equipment arrives on site, is collected and returned and organises the moving of the horse box and caravan when necessary. If you want the job, contact Jeff Holman, address above.

Storage space - covered or not - preferably between Fleet and Camberley for a growing pile of rescued bricks and other useful building materials. Messrs. P. Bond and A. Saunders are rapidly filling our barge yard sheds to overflowing and we cannot store in the open as the vandals would throw the goodies you—know—where! Any offers please to Jeff Holman.

Lengthsmen: The lengthsmen scheme has proved very successful and we now have a good idea of the general up-to-date condition of the canal. However, we still have a few vacant lengths. Please may we have some volunteers for the following sections:

1. North Warnborough Lift Bridge to the tunnel entrance.
2. Ash Lock to Farnborough Wharf.

(For these, please contact David Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet, tel. Fleet 21376).
3. Hermitage Bridge to Brookwood Bridge. (in this case contact Tony Turner, The Gables, Hare Hill Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey, tel. Byfleet 43980).

Printer: We still need a volunteer who will house the society's duplicator and be responsible for carrying out all our duplicating work. The ideal person would live within easy reach of Camberley, be on the phone, and have a spare room or space available for storing paper. It would suit a housewife wanting something else to do. The duplicator operates electrically and is simple to handle. To find out more about what is involved, please ring the secretary, Mrs. Nicholson, at Camberley 29468.

Walkers: Hampshire County Council is reluctant to authorise a working party on Barley Mow Bridge as had been planned because the legalities are complex. So we have had to cancel this exercise. However, please go and look at this and other Hampshire bridges as the towpath is rather overgrown between Barley Mow, Crookham and Broad Oak Bridge. Postmen; An extra volunteer in Ash Vale, Aldershot areas would still be welcome to help out our existing hard-pressed postmen. If you don't mind delivering a few newsletters once every two months, please contact the Newsletter Editor (address on Page 8) stating the area you can cover. We have a vacancy for some­one to deliver in Yateley and Blackwater.

Postmen: An extra volunteer in Ash Vale, Aldershot areas would still be welcome to help out our existing hard-pressed postmen. If you don't mind delivering a few newsletters once every two months, please contact the Newsletter Editor (address on Page 8) stating the area you can cover. We have a vacancy for someone to deliver in Yateley and Blackwater.
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We are arranging a boat trip on the River Wey for county and local councillors who were unable to attend the Guildford Water festival in 1970. The cruise starts from Millmead Lock, Guildford, at 2.30 pm. on May 7.

Our need is for boats - with covered accommodation in case of rain. It will be necessary to be at Guildford by 2 pm on Sunday May 7, to take on passengers. Boats will cruise upstream and return to Guildford Sea Cadet Headquarters for tea at 5 pm.

Would any member who has a cabin cruiser and can get it to Guildford on May 7 for this important public-relations exercise please get in touch with the cruise organiser, Mr. Les Harris, 198 Hermitage Woods Crescent, St. John's, Woking, Surrey (tel. Brookwood 507l) as soon as possible.

Mr. Harris will want to know the following details: (l) Your name; (2) Your address and telephone number; (3) Name of boat; (4) Type and size; (5) Number of passengers that can be accommodated on board; (6) Number of crew.

Helpers will also be required at tea - again, please send your name, address and telephone number to Mr. Harris if you can volunteer as a tea helper.

Please help us to show those in authority what the Basingstoke Canal could look like, and the pleasure it could give by "loaning" us yourself and your boat for the day.
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ALL ABOUT JUMBLE - by David Gerry
The committee had decided to put the proceeds of the jumble sale towards buying a pontoon for use as a work boat and occasionally as a passenger carrying pleasure boat. Just such a boat was spotted on the market before the sale, and with it was a road trailer - all for £55. So we bought it, but we hadn't had the sale. There were mumblings about "Well, it doesn't matter if the Machinery Fund does make a loss, that's what it's there for", and so on. But it is nice to make the books balance if you can.

Obviously, the jumble sale wouldn't collect £55, but it should get £30-£40, which would make the books look better. Well on Saturday, February 12 the jumble sale team, led by Mr. and Mrs. Browning of West Byfleet got to work, and when it came to the day it looked as if we should make about £35. Initial takings pointed to this total as well, but as the sale went on so the takings went up. £45 - £55 -£65 total profit which is an all-time society record and more than paid for the boat.

As many of you weren't able to answer the President's AGM appeal for tools, you made up for it by having a record sale. Well done. Thanks particularly to Mrs. Woodger who manned the refreshment counter solo, and to Mr. Browning senior who collected record entrance money. And of course to all who worked at the sale, who gave jumble - and to our customers.

It has now been shown that jumble sales are a pretty painless way of making money, all that members have to give is their unwanted belongings and some man hours. The committee would like to set the next one in motion now, to be held in September - or maybe in July. We need a volunteer organiser to take it on, and we suggest it is either in Brookwood, Ash or Mytchett areas.

The organiser ideally needs a spare room, garage or garden shed in which to collect jumble. The timetable goes something like this:

1. Book the hall as soon as possible;
2. The Hon. Secretary will produce handbills for all members in the area to distribute, these go out a few weeks before the sale and will be accompa­nied by an appeal to local members to help;
3. Organiser makes or persuades some­one else to make 6-12 posters and puts these up on suitable sites within two miles of the hall;
4. Organiser puts advert in local press for the week before the sale;
5. Jumble starts to roll in during the final month, becoming a flood during the last week;
6. Organiser or assistants lay on tea, milk, sugar, biscuits for about 100 people;
7. The Great Day arrives, helpers take all jumble from the organiser's store to the hall during the morning and sort it into men's, women's, and children's clothes, toys, shoes, books, household goods and white elephant. Then at 2.30 pm the people come in, the jumble goes out and a lot of money stays behind.
8. The Organiser's final job is to arrange for a local junk dealer to collect/purchase all unsold goods at about 4-4.30 pm; pay the outstanding bills out of the takings and get someone to take the profit to the treasurer on their way home.

Who wants to try and beat our record takings of £65? The organiser can dictate the use to which the money is put within the terms of the constitution. Volunteers please contact the secretary, Mrs Liz Nicholson, address on page 8.
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Following the appeal in the last newsletter, the society now has a new Sales Manager. He is Mr. Tony Jarrett, 1 Elms Road, Fleet,_Hampshire, tel. Fleet 5308. Tony is taking over from Peter Walker as from the date of this newsletter, so please send all orders direct to Tony in future. We would like to thank Tony for taking on this very important job - and Peter and his family, who have worked very hard to make the sales side of our activities into a competitive and very lucrative source of income for the society. We now have a sales turnover in the region of £500 a year.

Inflation: Please note the following changes to the sales list sent out before Christmas :-
Our booklets Towpath Walks by the Basingstoke Canal; Waterside Inns of the Basingstoke and Boats from the Basingstoke's Past now all have new printed card covers, with a new set of cover designs by member Mr. D. C. Miller. The price is now 15p each (from 12p) and the weight for postal purposes is 4 oz. The price of all 6" maps (East and West section of the Basingstoke Canal, North and South section of the Wey and Arun) is now 50p each (postal weight 3 oz).

Due to the recent postage rate increases, please add the following amounts to all orders by post; Total weight of order not over 4 oz - 3p; 8 oz - 6p; 12 oz - 8p; 1 lb - l0p; over 1 lb - 14p. It is hoped to include a revised sales list with these alterations with the next newsletter.

UP, UP AND UP by Glenys Crocker
We have now had more than 40 replies following our mailing to other societies. Fourteen have joined, bringing our affiliated membership to 26. They include amenity, history and youth societies and several women's organisations, whose interest has been very marked. All the societies who have replied favour public ownership, and all but three favour full restoration. In particular, angling societies are concerned about safeguarding their interests and would like to see their needs considered. With this reservation, however, most of them favoured full restoration. The replies have been very encouraging. The survey has brought out the wide range of interest the canal can cater for, and its appeal to a very wide range of age groups. We have made some valuable contacts for the future.

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RAMBLER'S CORNER - by John Peart
February's ramble turned out to be something of a mudlark. A month of consistent rain had made all the footpaths and canal towpath into a morass. Despite being wet underfoot the day turned out to be perfect for walking, and a good party set out promptly from Winchfield for a short section of public footpath leading to the Basingstoke Canal.

Many of the interesting engineering features of the canal are contained in the western section, including the Greywell Tunnel which appears to be deteriorating rapidly at the western portal. Other items examined with interest were the North Warnborough lift bridge, the Whitewater Aqueduct and the Little Tunnel bridge which is still in excellent condition. At the site of Nateley brickfields a peculiar structure was discovered consisting of three massive walls of engineering brick forming a consistent slope of approximately ten degrees over a distance of some 40 ft. Large slots in the top of the walls contained the rotting remains of huge timbers. The most likely theory, from the many guesses made regarding the function of this structure suggests that it formed the base of a screen on to which the newly dug clay would be loaded for riddling, to remove any stones and debris.

Near Hatch the line of the canal is difficult to trace due to the M.3 and assoc­iated road improvements, A well defined section of dry bed exists from Hatch into Old Basing. Several short sections through Old Basing are also easily traced but filling and development will soon ensure that only the "enlightened" will know where the canal once existed. About a mile from Old Basing, in a private garden, is a tiny watermill. A suggestion made was that due to its isolated location it could have been a gunpowder mill. These were always sited some distance from any habitation to ensure that any accident involved only the unfortunate operators!

From the ring road around Basingstoke the line of the canal is traced by a line of stunted trees at present being incorporated into a new riverside recreation area. It seems a pity that most of the people enjoying the new gardens will be unaware of the site of their "lost route to London" (apologies to Mr. Vine!). The latest OS 1" map shows considerably less of the canal line from Hatch to Basingstoke than previous editions, and anyone wishing to trace out the route is advised to examine the Sixth Edition OS 1" map if one is available.

Our walk finished, still in perfect weather, on the site of the Basingstoke Canal basin - now being used as Basingstoke's bus depot.

Sunday. April 9 — Wey Ramble
The Wey ramble will start at BYFLEET AND NEW HAW STATION at 10 am on Sunday, April 9. In the last newsletter I inadvertently used an obsolete name for this station. This walk of some 14 niles will take us through some beautiful, unspoilt country­side along a well preserved waterway now the property of the National Trust. The towpath is in good condition for most of the route but gets a trifle soggy in wet weather. As usual, sound footwear is advised.

The lunch break will be at Cartbridge, Send, near Woking, where the New Inn supplies the usual snacks (OS Map 170/017560). The walk will end at Guildford Station for trains to return to Byfleet or elsewhere.

This will be the last long ramble until October. The programme of family rambles starts on June 11 with a walk of six miles starting at Guildford Station at 2 pm. This ramble will be of interest to all the family and it is hoped to include a visit to a watermill, so book the date now. Full details in next newsletter.

Extras: Farnham Ramblers Association has invited us to join their ranble along the Basingstoke Canal. Maet at Fleet Library at 11 am on Sunday, March 26. A lunch break will be taken at the Barley Mow, Winchfield, and a return to Fleet will be nade on footpaths.

CONGRATULATIONS: To our secretary, Mrs. Liz Nicholson, who produced a baby boy on February 8 at Farnham Hospital. He couldn't have timed it better - Christopher Janes arrived in the world just after a committee meeting. No doubt his arrival was hastened by the mountain of typing that Liz ploughed through that weekend!
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Subscriptions for 1972-73 are now due. Enclosed with this newsletter, members will find a renewal form, plus banker's order and Covenant form. It is a great help to us if as many members who can not only pay their subscriptions by banker's order, but complete the Covenant form as well, as this enables us to reclaim the income tax you have paid on your subscription. Please return all forms to the Membership Secretary, Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Cove, Farnborough, Hampshire.

If you have, or are likely to change your address, PLEASE LET US KNOW. Give us your old address as well as the new one, so that we can trace you more easily. Members who joined after November 1971, or who have already paid for 1972-73 should not receive a renewal form.

You may think that renewal time has come quickly, since we sent out renewal forms for 1971-72 only a few months ago. At renewal time last year we were in the depths of a postal strike, and could not ask for renewals until after the AGM in April because of a change in subscription rates. Hence the speed with which renewals have come round again. Please don't think that because the counties are now thinking of a CPO the fight is over. It isn't - so please renew your membership. Prompt renewal saves so much precious time, trouble, huntirg through files, sorting out of envelopes - plus the chore of sending reminders. All this is done by people in their spare time - and with 1800-plus members you can imagine the size of the job! Don't renew tomorrow - renew now, as you are reading this — please! Done it? Splendid!

We are delighted to announce that the following have agreed to become Vice-Presidents of the society: Lady Redgrave; Paul Vine (author of "London's Lost Route to Basingstoke"); Sir John Verney; MPs Cranley Onslow (Woking): Julian Critchley (Aldershot); David Mitchell (Basingstoke).

Mrs. Jutta Manser, of 10 Highfield Crescent, Southampton, S02 1SZ is writing a booklet on the natural history of the canal and would be glad of any information, members can send her.
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Last updated April 2005