March - April 1975

Cover pictures
Proposed Odiham by-pass
Ramblers' Corner
Sponsored walk
Kennet & Avon report
May Day Ball
AGM Report

Contact the Society


masthead50 (12K)

No. 55MARCH - APRIL 1974

front page pic (25K)1

front page pic (39K)2

front page pic (40K)3
Mr Carnegy, Surrey County Council. David Gerry, SHCS. The Rev. Lord Sandford, Dept. of Education & Science. Maj. Johns. Mike Griffiths, Countryside Warden.

front page pic (33K)5

Cover pictures:
1. Wharf Bridge and boathouse, Farnborough, c1910
2. Digging out on the St. John's lock, 1913
3. Visitors to the major working party, Barley Mow Bridge to double Bridge, January 1974
4. Pondtail Bridge Fleet, 1967.
5. Pondtail Bridge Fleet, 1973

Newsletter No. 55March/April 1974

Proposed Odiham by-pass
In February 1973 the Hampshire County Council held a public meeting in Odiham at which they put forward their draft proposals for an Odiham by-pass. The meeting was attended by S.H.C.S. committee members and a letter subsequently sent to the County Surveyor, submitting observations on the four alignments discussed and supporting the most northerly as being tho least damaging to the environs of the canal.

The County Council has now made a formal planning application for the by-pass (reference HWR 3236) and the plans have recently been on deposit at the Hartley Wintney Rural District Council offices. The preferred alignment is the second most northerly of those put forward at the public meeting. It involves the construction of a single two lane carriageway commencing at a new roundabout on the A32 south of North Warnborough and running parallel with and approximately 120 feet to the north of the canal, to cross the A237 at a second new roundabout opposite Broad Oak Lane.

In general it is not considered tho road will have too severe an impact on the canal, visually or physically, but we are very concerned at the proposals for the areaa of Colt Hill Bridge. It is intended that the B3016 Hartley Wintney road will be carried over the by-pass, requiring the construction of a new bridge alongside Colt Hill Bridge, and the provision of embankments of a maximum height of some 25 feet. It requires little imagination to appreciate the disastrous impact both the new bridge and the embankments will have on the canal's environment. The present scenic rualities and rural character of the canal will be lost and in their place will be massive earthworks with the view and noise of vehicles passing by at high level.

We favour an alternative solution whereby tho B3016 would be cut at Colt Hill Bridge. The southern section could then be turned into a cul-de-sac, with all the environmental advantages that would bring to the residents and the school along that section. The northern section could be linked into the by-pass, enabling all through traffic to be channelled via the Broad Oak roundabout, thus completely fulfilling the primary object of the by-pass. Such a solution would
1) eliminate the need for a new bridge over the canal at Colt Hill
2) avoid the need to acquire private property near the bridge
3) substantially reduce the height of the embankments
4) save money.

This alternative solution has been detailed in a letter to the County Surveyor with copies to the Chairmen of the relevant County Committees and the County Planning Officer. We have asked that the scheme be amended on the lines outlined. The by—pass is urgently needed in the interests of protecting the environment of one of the most attractive villages in Hampshire. However, by careful planning, any damage to the canal can be avoided. This scheme is of vital concern to the Society. It would strengthen our case if individual members, particularly those in the Odihnm area, would write expressing their views to the County Surveyor, Mr. A.W. Jacomb, BSc. C.Eng. at the Castle, Winchester. It is imperative that you write quickly - today if possible, tomorrow may be too late, as once a decision is taken it is not likely to be reversed.
[back to top]

Postmen and postwomen wanted. ......
Two areas are not now fully covered by our very efficient and hard­working postmen in the Woking area. One is on the south side, from Oriental Road, Hockering, Wych Hill Wey and parts in between. The other is to the north, the Horsell, Woodham area. If you feel you could help with either of those, please contact Mr. S.J. Browning at 34 Parvis Road, West Byfleet (Byfleet 42024).

Also required is someone to fill the post (!) in Frimley Green. Volunteers please contact Ted Freke, 5 Credon Close, Cove, Farnborough (Farnborough 42149). Don't think someone else will volunteer - do it yourself. Our own postal service saves the Society a great deal of money.

.......and lengthsmen
The length of the canal from Hermitage Road Bridge to Brookwood Bridge, a distance of about a mile, is not being watched at present. Anyone who would like to take a fairly regular stroll along this part, noting any unusual events, is asked to contact Tony Turner on Byfleet ^43980. The length could quite conveniently be split into two parts, if two people want a very short walk.
[back to top]

Ramblers (muddy) corner by John Peart, F'boro
Well done, the twenty stalwarts who turned out for the February ramble. This one must go down as definitely the muddiest, wettest, hardest ramble to date. Although the day was dry, the previous week's rains had turned the tracks into streams and the fields into ponds. Also, for the first time ever, we were forced to turn back and re-plan the route. Not by the conditions underfoot, but by the Ministry of Defence, which has built an establishment across a public right of way between Sherfield on Loddon and Cufaude. As usual they have not allowed the Ordnance Surrey to indicate this on the map. My enquiry to Mr. Humphries of Hampshire County Rights of Way Office brought the information that this track is "County unmetalled road number '263'" and that any member of the public is entitled to take a vehicle over it. Considering the conditions and obstructions I would think even a Chieftain tank would have some difficulty!

Mr. Humphries suggested that I take up the matter with the County Surveyor, who has responsibility for these 'green lanes'. This I am doing, so watch this column for further instalments.

April two day ramble, canal towpath
Saturday 20 April, meet 10.00, Brookwood Station. Walk to Fleet, 13m
Sunday 21 April, meet 10.30, Reading Road Bridge, Fleet. Walk to Greywell (Hook Station). 12 miles.

The April ramble is something special this year. As you know, for over twelve months private individuals have, with BCC permission, been working on various sections of the canal. In addition official working parties under the control of S.H.C.S. and Hampshire County officials are ranking tremendous efforts on the Hampshire section. To compliment their efforts this ramble will cover the towpath between Brookwood and Greywell. Come along and show your support for the working parties. Every foot placed on the newly cleared sections will help to keep them clear and encourage members of the public to follow suit.

A snack lunch will be available Saturday at the Swan Hotel, Ash Vale, and on Sunday at the Barley Mow, Winchfield Hurst. Please 'phone me by 14 April on Farnborough 46554 if you want this facility. The Saturday walk will end at Reading Road Bridge, Fleet. Fleet station is 1 1/2 miles away for a return train to Brookwood or elsewhere. Buses run from nearby to Aldershot. On Sunday the walk will continue over Greywell hill to view the dereliction of the western end of Greywell tunnel. From there via public footpath to Hook Station for trains to Fleet, Farnborough etc. or bus to Odiham, Farnham, Aldershot. Book the date now and ring me for your lunch.
[back to top]

Membership renewals by Alan Babister
A reminder that subscriptions fell due on 1 March. If you received a renewal application form with the last Newsletter and have not yet returned it, together with the appropriate subscription, please do so right away.

We regret that any membership not renewed by 30 April will lapse and no further Newsletters will be sent. Subsequent renewal will not entitle members to the intervening Newsletters.

We sometimes hear of members who move house and fail to get Newsletters at their new address. This is usually because when moving they forget to let us know. So even if you are moving out of the area and wish to leave the Society (but please don't), tell us; it saves delivering unwanted Newsletters.
[back to top]

Sponsored walk
The Society is to hold a sponsored walk in aid of our restoration work on the Basingstoke. With the recent cut-back in public spending a greater financial burden will fall on the Society if we are to see the canal restored within the time span set out in the Joint Working Party Report. We shall need excavating equipment, lifting gear to clear out locks, more dumper trucks, fuel for the dredger etc. Full details will be included in the next Newsletter, when a sponsorship form will be sent to each member, but this is the outline:
Date - Sunday 2lst July
venue - towpath of the Basingstoke canal within Hampshire, from Ash Lock to Greywell Tunnel. Max distance 15 miles.
Time - any time between 10.00 and 12.00
Target: To raise £1,000.
Walkers may start at any bridge, walk as far as they like, finish at any bridge and even walk some way in one direction, turn round (provided this is at a bridge) and walk back. All these comings and goings will b recorded for you and your forms marked with the total distance you cover.

Liquid refreshments will be provided free and first aid facilities and transport available should you need them.

Arrangements are being made to ensure that the next Newsletter, together with sponsor forms, are in members' hands by the middle of May. If however you would like a sponsor form before then, send Jutta a stamped addressed envelope (no letter) to Tony Jarrett, 3 Elms Road, Fleet, Hampshire GU13 9EG after the end of March.

So, remember the date and come and enjoy a pleasant walk along the canal while helping to restore it. All are welcome, including scout or guide groups, schools, W.I's., young wives, youth clubs etc. and for those members who live too far away to come along and walk, see next Newsletter, we can cater for you! To ensure that the event runs smoothly we shall require marshalls at every bridge, so if you feel unable to walk but willing to lend your support in another direction, would-be marshalls are asked to contact Dave Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet, Hampshire (Fleet 21376) as soon as possible.
[back to top]

New equipment for the Society by Stan Googe
Great news for members of working parties. Bolinders Co. Ltd, of Kings Cross London have given to the Society the free loan of an ARCHIMEDES PENTA U22 15hp outboard engine. At the Barley Mow bridge on 16th February Stuart Wyatt, UK sales manager, handed it over to David Gerry. The engine was soon put to work powering the pontoon when overhanging branches were cut and lengths of logs carried to a central dump. Later it will pull the dredger and power Society mud boats. The pontoon was the first work boat on the canal for over a quarter of a century. The engine was later put on display at the A.G.M., whore it caused great interest. This engine is just being introduced into the UK and the Society is using one of the first to be delivered. With luck there should be photographs of the engine in action in the next Newsletter.
[back to top]

Encouraging Kennet and Avon report by F.W. Simmoods
D.D. Hutchings, honorary secretary of tho Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, recently gave Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society an illustrated talk on the restoration of this long, important and historic waterway, which is 86-1/4 miles from the Thames to Hanham Mills near Bristol, and has 106 locks.

The progress reported should greatly encourage members of S.H.C.S. in their efforts to restore the Basingstoke canal.

Mr. Hutchings traced the construction of the Kennet and Avon. The first phase, 11 miles from Hanham Mills, was opened in 1727, when a barge reached Bath. Next, 13-1/2 miles from Reading to Mowbury needed 20 locks for a rise of 120 feet, And finally 79 locks were built in the 57 miles between Newbury and Bath, with one tunnel and two major aqueducts.

The steam pumping station at Crofton, near Marlborough, was reconditioned by K & A Trust enthusiasts recently and a water wheel with a ram at Claverton is being restored jointly by the Trust and Bath University of Technology.

In its heyday narrow boats and 60ton barges worked the canal, but traffic declined from l841 when the London-Bristol railway opened, The canal was taken over by the Great Western Railway Company and by 1877 it was losing money and maintenance declined. It was navigable in the 1920s when motor cruisers and sea-going yachts used it to avoid a long haul round the coast.

Conditions got worse during World War II and the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive took over in 1949, closing the canal to through, traffic two years later. British Waterways Board took over in 1963 and negotiated with the K & A Trust for restoration. The trust is responsible for raising £20,000 a year and for volunteer labour, and the Board carries out all the major works, for which the Trust provides the funds. Eleven miles are open from Newbury for passenger boats during the summer; other sections open are Bristol to Bath (3 miles), Devizes to Crofton Top Lock (l9 miles) .and from the Thames to Towney lock (l0 miles). The summit level of two miles is reached 35 miles from Reading and goes through Savernake tunnel. From Devizes only a short stretch at Bradford-on-Avon is navigable this side of Bath, but thence the waterway is open to the Severn at Avonmouth. Stone aquaducts take the canal over the Avon at Limpley Stoke and Avoncliffe.
[back to top]

Boat for sale
40ft. steel hull cabin cruiser built Danie Marine 1967. Bow copied from a narrow boat, stern square. Lister 13 hp air-cooled engine less than 1100 hours carefully used and regularly professionally serviced. 45gal. diesel capacity, 5gal. water. One double berth but easily convertible to four. Full size sink and three large storage cabinets; three burner Calor gas stove with oven and grill; fitted carpets; seven electric lights; toilet cabin 5 x 5 ft. with Elsan, washbowl, cabinet and mirrors. Large front deck, tiller steering, covers front and aft; cutlery, plates, ropes, mooring spikes, new hose, three shafts and windings. £4,000. Not before April 6 because of Grand Union stoppage but can then be seen at Marsworth. Meanwhile questions answered 0800 to 2200 on 01-892 3034.

Film evenings
April 10
l) Castle and Country
2) New Horizons
3) Liquid history

This is the final film evening to be held at the King's Head, Frimley Green. Thank you to all those members who have regularly supported these last eight evenings.

Pub evenings
April 3 New Inn April 29 Swan Inn May 13. New Inn
May 27 Swan Inn June 10 New Inn June 24 Swan Inn
[back to top]

Lengthmen are useful
A report from one of our Hampshire lengthsnen of trees being cut down and burnt on the canal bank by Norris Bridge led to the discovery that a 130,000 volt cable was to be laid across the bed of the canal! A telephone call to Hampshire County Officials revealed that they had no knowledge that this work was to be carried out. The plans were however approved the following day, and work is now underway. The cable, running to the new wind tunnel at the R.A.E., will in fact be about 10foot below the towpath level. One hopes that the canal and the banks will be left in a tidy condition, with some replanting of trees.

Needless to say, the County Council was very pleased to see our lengthsmen scheme working so well and to know that the canal is under such good supervision. In addition to the appeals made earlier, some are needed in Hampshire, Contact David Robinson, Fleet 21376.
[back to top]

May Day Ball by Stan. Googe
The star prize of the Tomtbola in the May Day ball is a week for two in the Yugoslav resort of Rabac. This superb prize hss been donated to the Society by Fleet Travel, who are also a selling point for the Ball tickets in Fleet. So if you are in Fleet, and want to get your tickets, why not pop in and get yours? You may also want to book your holiday or arrange travel for your firm. Give Paula Morando a ring on Fleet 23302, and mention the Society.

Another very good prize is a weekend for six on a Steadfast cruiser on the Wey. This prize has been donated by Margaret and John Hall of the Farncombe Boat House (Godalming 21306). They do weekends with k4, 6, 8 and 10 berth cruisers at about £6 each, which includes fuel, TV and central heating - can't be bad. They are open seven days a veek, so call round and see them.

Members living in Farnham might like to go to Capt. Venables Antiques, 39 West Street. He has a stock of tickets for the ball. Farnborough members can get theirs from Alan Babister on Farnborough 46147. I am still accepting donations of prizes from members for the Tombola. Just give me a ring on Fleet 5402.
[back to top]

Amateur photographers
Photographs are wanted by Dave Robinson of working parties in action and of the canal in the past. Contact Dave at 14 Brinksway, Fleet.

Have you sent in a working party questionnaire? In order to send the Restoration News to you, Tony Jarrett must receive your indication of supporting the working parties. Address: 1 Elms Road, Fleet.

Another 'mile-and-a-half' stone cleared by Frank Jones
On Saturday and Sunday 23 and 24 February the Society staged its most successful working party yet. On Saturday fifty people set out from Double Bridge and made a huge dent in the work to be done. On Sunday Crookham Village was the centre of attention as 150 volunteers cleared the remaining towpath to Chequers Bridge and beyond. By 3pm. the target mile and a half was clear, together with the old wharf area at Crookham, which was particularly overgrown. Another party filled in the holes in the towpath which have been a danger to legs for too long.

Public interest was very gratifying to volunteers. Many local residents saw for the first time that something was being done about the canal, and in a big way! With enthusiasm like this the work will be done well ahead of time.

A.G. M. Report
The seventh A.G.M. was attended by 170 members, about 10% of the membership, quite high considering the wide area our members come from.

During the meeting Alan Babister, membership secretary, reported membership was down from the previous year, probably because the change in emphasis of the Society's activities put a stop to public meetings, the chief source of new members. There were several suggestions for recruitment, which will be given urgent attention by the new committee.

Some complaints were made that some aspects of working party organisation, particularly bridge hole clearance, were not good enough and members will loose interest if there is no improvement. Members on the platform aagreed, and this too will be investigated urgently.

Tony Jarrett was congratulated on pushing sales over £1,000. He thanked those members who helped so much to achieve this, in particular his wife, for handling so much of the postal work.

Questions were asked about the cost of moving the dredger to Odiham. Quotations are now coming in, but cost is estimated, between £700 and £1,000.

There was discussion obout motor cruisers being allowed on the restored canal, the first time this has been discussed at a Society meeting. It became clear that all those present were in favour of motor cruisers being allowed to use the canal provided that sensible regulations governing them were established. The committee has always felt that members held this view and the confirmation at the A.G.M. will encourage tho new committee to act with confidence in the matter.

Small mid-week working parties were suggested for those who work weekend shifts. Stan Googe (Fleet 5402) has offered to organise these, and interested members should contact him. Mr. Back criticised some working party members who did not take home all their litter. Working party leaders will check on this complaint.

In his closing address David Gerry said he would not seek to be re-elected chairman of the new committee but that did not mean he would be any less active on the Society's behalf. The election of a new chairman would broaden the top of the Society and strengthen it for the task ahead. He added that the executive committee operates under considerable stress all the time and relied on the body of ordinary members for strength. He appealed for more help on all directions and thanked members for their continued support and for attending the meeting. There was then a showing of the recent T.V. newsreel about working parties and the film 'River Reborn' about the restoration of the Stratford on Avon Navigation.

Transport Manager
This post has now been transferred to Patrick Maguire. Working party members will have seen him driving our Land Rover and towing equipment. His address is 120 Hermitage Woods Road, St. Johns, Woking, Surrey, (Brookwood 4200). Thanks are due to Mike Fairless at Send for building up the transport section and for his services during the past year. Any members with a mechanical bent can assist the transport group by offering maintenance services to Patrick.

Working parties in Fleet
On 23 and 24 March working parties in Fleet will concentrate on Reading Road Bridge and Pondtail Bridge, undor Dave Robinson and Tony Jarrett respectively. Do come and join in.

Officers elected at committee mooting held on 1st March 1974
CHAIRMAN - Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Cres., West End, Woking.
VICE CHAIRMAN - Jeff Holman, 22 Willow Green, West End, Woking.
SECRETARY - Mrs. Frances Creasey, 108 Union Street, Farnborough.
TREASURER - Peter Youngs, The Coppice, Chobham Road, Camberley.
Newsletter editor: Mrs. Marilyn Holmes, 75 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants. Tel: Fleet 3297
Honorary Secretary: Mrs. Frances Creasey, 108 Union Street, Farnborough, Tel: Farnborough 43114 Hants.
[back to top]


Last updated April 2005