Spring 1995

Cover picture info
Last 5 Miles
Pinkerton's Progress
Greywell - easy option
SSSI - Reactions
Aqueduct update
News update
The Year Ahead
Towpath Topics
Gongoozler's Gossip

Contact the Society

            bcnmsthd160 (11K)
No. 168 Spring 1995

front pic (79K)

page 2

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles

Our last issued produced a lot of correspondence of which we produce a selection on page 6. Most of it related to the SSSI, about which the Chairman, David Millett, wrote to all members in January. There seems to have been some misunderstanding of the Society's position on this question, not least in the minds of the members of the Joint Management Committee, so perhaps it is worth restating the position.

The Society is opposed to the imposition of an SSSI which covers almost the whole length of the canal, on the grounds that it would restrict navigation. The restrictions would be caused by limiting boat movements and by imposing unworkable conditions on dredging. The canal has been, and can be, managed with due regard for the wildlife which has flourished as a result of the restoration carried out by Society members and others. The Society is keen to encourage the spread of such flora and fauna which enhances the beauty of the area. For this reason the Society participated in discussions aimed at producing a management plan for the canal in the event that it should be declared an SSSI. But those discussions have not produced a plan which enables navigation to develop. The canal will regress if the plan is imposed. As there is a legal right to navigation, and as the canal was built and restored as a navigation, not as a nature reserve, the Society is duty bound to oppose it.

Members are angry that the canal they worked so hard for is liable to decay if they are ignored. Their voices have been raised to local councillors, to Members of Parliament and even to the Prime Minister. Some local authorities have taken note of the expression of public opinion and have made formal objections to the SSSI. If democracy means anything, then those who have the final decision to make on this issue must take full account of these objections.

Speaking of democracy, what a fine example is being set by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in consulting the citizens of that borough about the proposed restoration of the last five miles. Public meetings have been held, not only in Basingstoke, but at Overton, Whitchurch, Old Basing, Greywell and Mapledurwell. In addition they are writing to every one of the households in the borough with information and a questionnaire, before taking the final decision in May on whether restoration is to go ahead, and if so along which route. Whatever the outcome, it is a splendid demonstration of democracy: nobody can complain that they have not been consulted.

At some of those meetings especially in Greywell and Mapledurwell, there has been a distinct feeling of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). This is understandable perhaps in view of Hampshire County Council's shortsighted decision not to allow the Greywell Tunnel to be restored (please read Peter Redway's article on page 5 very carefully), for this means large earthworks over a long period, compulsory purchase of land and interference with an existing SSSI. All this could be avoided if the existing, well defined canal were to be followed from the winding hole at King John's Castle to Penny Bridge. The only barrier in the way is the (currently) closed tunnel and the bats. What can be seen of the tunnel from the periodic inspections is that it is in excellent condition and that restoration, whilst it would be a large engineering undertaking, is quite possible. The bats ? Well, this is an emotional subject but a bat cave has been built at Ash and it is imperative that independent research should be undertaken to see how the bats at Ash have adapted to their new home: if this research shows them to be well adjusted then the same type of home could be built at Greywell.

The restored canal followed the original line the and impact on the local communities was minimal (in fact most of them welcomed the restoration with open arms) and it seems that the obvious solution is to restore the last five miles over the original line where that is possible. In parts this is not possible because of roads (M3) and housing but nothing is in the way between King John's Castle and Penny Bridge except the tunnel and the bats. The capital cost of restoring the tunnel and building a new home for the bats would be considerably less than the cost (in capital and in terms of noise and social upheaval) of building a new tunnel, locks and compulsory purchase of land. Yes, the small section between the castle and the eastern portal of the tunnel is already an SSSI but that can be managed within the agreed plan. Society members should support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and press for the last five miles, including the Greywell Tunnel, to be restored.

The Last Five Miles3
Pinkerton's Progress4
The Greywell Tunnel25
SSSI Responses6
Aqueduct Update7
A Testing Time/Volunteers8
The Year's Events9
Book Review10
Towpath Topics11
Gongoozler's Gossip12

Cutter suction dredging at Broad Oak with (inset) the settling ponds for the silt - Dieter Jebens
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page 3
West of Greywell - THE LAST 5MILES

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles

Restoration of the canal west of the Greywell Tunnel has taken a decisive step nearer in recent weeks thanks to the determination of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. Working to what Neil Cole, the Project Manager, described as a 'pretty intense' pace, the Council has launched a series of investigations which will enable them to produce detailed restoration proposals for discussion at a meeting of the Leisure Services Committee on 18th May. The reason for the haste is that several possible routes exist for the restored canal, and a number of residents - especially in Old Basing - will be affected. The Council feels it is only right to select the intended route as soon as possible so as to remove any uncertainty and enable discussion to take place with those who may suffer.

Two Segments
In essence the restoration can be divided into two segments, the first covering the stretch from Newmarket Square in Basingstoke to Basing House, and the second from there to the eastern side of Greywell Tunnel. Within each of these two main areas there are two possible route options; at the Basingstoke end the restored canal can either follow the original bed or could bypass Old Basing so as to minimise disruption to housing, whilst at Greywell the choices are between a second tunnel to the north of the original bat-inhabited one, and a series of locks and a shorter tunnel which would lift the canal up over Greywell Hill.

The council has already agreed in principle to restoration of the first part from Basingstoke to Old Basing, and has now commissioned a detailed land survey and engineering studies. These will enable the two possible routes to be worked out in greater detail, and for a fully costed schedule of the necessary engineering works to be produced. The Council will then be in a better position to select the actual route for restoration at its meeting on 18th May, and start holding discussions with those residents who will affected.

Aerial Survey
At the same time the Council has also commissioned an aerial survey of the two possible routes from Basing House to Greywell. Because aerial surveys are not totally accurate, they have also commissioned a limited number of ground surveys which will enable the route to be selected in areas which are not easily visible from the air. This is a quicker process than has been used for the route from Basingstoke to Basing House, but the Council is convinced that the combination of aerial and ground surveys will enable them to select the final route at their meeting in May.

In addition the council have commissioned a number of other investigations. In mid February a hydro-geological well was sunk in Eastrop Park so that the potential volume of future water resources could be evaluated. The well was sunk to a depth of [ft]325 metres after four days drilling, and the potential water supply will be monitored until the end of March.

A firm of consultants has also been commissioned to undertake a study of how the restored canal could be managed and organised, the aim being to encourage use whilst minimising possible conflict and to ensure that this unique leisure resource is well integrated with Basingstoke and its population. The Council intends to make an application to the Millenium Commission for financial help with the scheme.

Public Meetings
A series of public meetings were held in February and March so that the Council could explain its plans. The meetings were held at Overton, Whitchurch, Old Basing, Greywell and Mapledurwell. However some major obstacles stand in the way of making the plan become a reality rather than a dream, not the least of which are traversing the M3 and also the notorious bat inhabited Greywell Tunnel which Hampshire County Council recently decided will not be restored, although this may not be the last word on this subject. The current Basingstoke and Deane study will hopefully remove the options and instead settle attention on just one intended route. The probability is that if the scheme is agreed, it will be the Basingstoke end which is restored first, with the target of completing this stage of the project by the turn of the century. The more difficult job of connecting the two restored parts of the canal together, and of navigating Greywell Hill would start early in the 21st Century.

Society Support
David Millett, the Society Chairman said that the Society 'will give full support to what we see as a very far sighted proposal' and has arranged for Norman Wyld, from Consulting Engineers Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, and Neil Cole, the Basingstoke and Deane Council Project Manager to give a presentation of the Council's plan to Society members on Tuesday 10th October at 20:00 in St. John's Memorial Hall, Woking. In addition the Council has mounted a small display which, until the end of April, will be in the Food Court of Potters Walk in Basingstoke.

We will provide a further report on the proposed restoration scheme after the Council has made its decision on 18th May.
John Elliott

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page 4

Please actively support Basing stoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the'Last Five Miles'

The daffodils are in flower, the trees are budding and that loyal crew of workers (Martin Bowers, Bill Homewood, Mike Munro and Roger Speake) have been busy getting the John Pinkerton ready for yet another season - her 18th.

It will be a season with some differences. Firstly Carol Munro has taken over as Bookings Manager, though the'phone number remains the same - the wonders of modern technology ! Secondly the season will see the opening of the aqueduct over the Blackwater Valley Relief Road, and the occasion will not only be marked by a Civic opening on the John Pinkerton but also by the long-awaited return of public trips to Ash Wharf over that same weekend. In the past public trips from Ash Wharf were highly successful - you had to fight to keep them off the boat - and Ron McLaughlin is confident that 1995 will be no different.

For the rest of the season the John Pinkerton will work on the Hampshire pound, with all the Bank Holidays in Fleet where the demand for trips seems insatiable.

Members Evenings
Also new in 1995 is a more attractive members night - not just John Pinkerton crew members but all Society members. Once a week there is a need to pump out and refuel the John Pinkerton,

and conventionally this has always been done on a Tuesday evening . In 1995 we will continue to do these things after 19:00 (with departure from Colt Hill to King John's Castle at 19:30 until 30th June and thereafter departure at the same time to Colt Hill from Barley Mow at Winchfield) but will try and turn the evening into a members cruise.

This is an opportunity for any paid up member of the Society to turn up with their nearest and dearest and enjoy a free leisurely evening cruise. If you care to lend a hand with the weekly boat maintenance tasks then so much the better or if you fancy yourself on the tiller just let someone know and we will arrange it for you (and sign you up as a crew member!). The first members evening will be on Tuesday 2nd May at 19:00 for a 19:30 departure at Colt Hill Odiham. Why not turn up and see the canal you support from close up. Being disabled does not cause us any problems - we would be delighted to see you.

The John Pinkerton is run entirely by volunteers, some of whom give up half of any week to maintaining, administering or crewing the boat. Hence specific thanks to Martin, Bill, Mike and Roger for their efforts during the cold winter months and to Ann Bird for her services over several years.
A Tiller

            European Day for the Disabled
The inclement weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of local dignatories, offical guests and visitors who assembled at the Canal Centre on 3rd December.which had been designated European Day for the Disabled, forthe official opening of a superb new facility to enable disabled canoeists to take to the water.

The formal ceremony was performed by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Mr Timothy Goad, after which Nigel Campin, a member of the Physically Handicapped Able Bodied Society, took part in a demonstration of the newly installed hoist and was lowered into a canoe, showing how simple it was to use the apparatus. In addition, improvements have been made to the canalside ensuring easy access by wheelchairs.

A grant of £5,000 from the Social Services Department of Surrey County Council had made it possible for the Canal Authority to install the facility which, it is hoped, will be much used by local disabled groups.
Michael Clarke

Left to right - Nigel Campin, Anette Weiss and Timothy Goad trying out the new disabled lift

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page 5

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

On 19th January the Recreation Committee of Hampshire County Council (HCC) passed a resolution on the future of Greywell Tunnel. 'That this committee will NOT facilitate or allow the restoration of Greywell Tunnel for through boating'. The resolution was passed whilst the Recreation Committee were considering a report on the presentations made by interested parties at last November's seminar (see Newsletter No. 167).

Prior to the meeting, the Society had written to individual Recreation Committee members urging further consultation should take place between Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, their consultants, Civil Engineers and English Nature before any decision on the future of Greywell Tunnel was taken. We also included an update on the Ash Bat Roost which will provide data and enable better evaluation of a similar structure at Greywell and more certainty of occupancy by bats. In the event the commonsense decision of keeping all options open for as long as possible was ignored and the resolution was passed.

Prior to considering the Greywell Tunnel, the Recreation Committee had generated an atmosphere of financial prudence and good housekeeping, therefore I have difficulty in accepting the passing of a resolution which, as it stands, could involve additional expenditure of £6M on constructing an alternative route for the canal at Greywell, perhaps at some other authority's expense ?

No Evaluation
The committee did not evaluate the alternatives or cost implications, only five speakers out of twenty-one members participated, the whole process was over in five minutes. The resolution may also, in the longer term, affect the water supply east of Greywell as the tunnel aquifers are the source of water for this part of the canal.

This important subject should have been fully debated and voted on and I am concerned that little debate occurred, with a lone voice raising the issues of tunnel maintenance, water supply and Industrial Archaeology interest.

This plea followed quotes such as: 'Relief that the Basingstoke and Deane study had taken the heat out of making a decision on restoration of the tunnel'. The resolution was agreed without vote and without challenge almost as if the result had been pre-determined.

I have concern for the future on the following points:

1) What if Basingstoke and Dean Borough Council are unable to finance

the entire project and Greywell hill remains a barrier. The door would seem to be closed on a practical restoration of the existing tunnel, at least for the time being. The debate needs to be re-opened at the earliest opportunity.

2) Will existing SSSIs at Greywell prevent one or more options identified by consultants from being implemented ?

3) Greywell Tunnel will continue to decay until a further collapse of the structure occurs. Who is responsible for the cost of reinstating the resultant subsidence above the tunnel on private land, some of which is already designated as an SSSI ? How will hill water supplies for the canal be maintained, what alternative sources will be made available and what of the historic interest value ?

4) In the event of the eventual tunnel collapse what will happen to the bat roost ? Restoration is being prevented, at this stage, in order that the protection of the bat habitat is ensured. Time will ultimately destroy the habitat if the tunnel is not maintained.

5) If the tunnel is maintained in order that the bats are protected what is the difference from restoring the tunnel for canal use, who will pay and how much ? The financial implication of the decay and collapse of the tunnel may, in the long term, be in excess of the restoration and bat habitat construction costs.

In conclusion, my opinion is that the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society's proposals for the full restoration of the tunnel are valid, they provide a least cost option for the last five miles. The bat roost at Ash provides the opportunity for testing and evaluating the latest design in a local environment; lessons learned can be incorporated in the Greywell construction. Our proposals set the scene for a time-share co-existence between bats and canal use of the tunnel.

I consider that the resolution passed by Hampshire County Council is short-sighted and not in the canal's or Hampshire's best interests in the longer term.

The Society should now develop a strategy for The Last Five Miles' project, supporting the Basingstoke and Deane initiative. We must ensure that the canal does not remain severed with a terminus at Basingstoke and a stalemate situation leaving unrestored sections between Greywell and Basingstoke. Our feasibility study has been endorsed as practical and we should not be sidelined at this stage by myopic decisions at County Council level.
Peter Redway

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page 6

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

The repsonse to the Society's letter to all members concerning the proposed SSSI to be designated by English Nature was unprecedented in recent years and we have taken samples from some of the letters and reproduced them here for your interest.

I received a gratuitous letter (from English Nature) in which they said 'they appreciate the tremendous amount of time and energy invested by the Canal Society members'.

Putting it plainly the Canal has been 'hijacked' and we have been mugged. The County Councils have let us down badly, they have stood idly by and watched this takeover. Yet they backed the intention of renewing the canal, as a navigation.
W Bristow

In 1966 I walked the Basingstoke Canal, it was overgrown, saplings and trees growing in the bed, much of it without water. The towpath was impassable in many places. None of the locks worked, it was a danger to children, it was a danger to health; indeed Woking Council used to spray for mosquitoes every year.

I was so concerned about this that I started a campaign to save it, which resulted in the formation of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. We attempted to get the owners co-operation in restoring it. We then had a long and successful campaign in persuading the two County Councils to take out complusory purchase proceedings, eventually this happened.

The Canal Society and many others; Civic Groups, Anglers, Youth Groups, Inland Waterways Association, Pristoners, Work Experience, Military Groups all gave time, expertise and money.

Where were you, English Nature ? The canal was man-made for Navigation, it is over 200 years old, it was allowed to decay and has been restored as an amenity for the whole community. If it had not been restored there would have been no plants or wildlife, sections would have built on.

Where were you, English Nature ?

For an organisation that has made no contribution to the restoration programme I am amazed, shocked and dumbfounded to hear of your heavy handed proposals.

Will you help with funding and maintenance if the volunteers pull out?

Please give your plans an urgent rethink.
Jim Woolgar
Founder (S&HCS)

While living in England in the 1960s I spent numerous days on the canal, walking and canoeing, following my interests in the natural sciences. Many are the species of plant which I identified and photgraphed and I had much fun discovering the many water creatures. In those days, almost always, I had the canal to myself: I only ever encountered a handful of other naturalists. How priviledged I was !

It sounds as if, now, the canal is bustling with activity. Much as I am glad to have had it peacefully to myself in the past, I am glad to hear it is now restored and cared for and how much pleasure it is giving people. Do keep up the good work. At the same time I do hope that the rarer plants and shyer creatures can still find quiet places to flourish in.
Ian D Beattie (New Zealand)

 (22K) The canal before restoration
(David Robinson)

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page 7

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

Work on the new aqueduct which will carry the Basingstoke Canal over the Blackwater Valley Relief Road -A331 - is about three weeks behind schedule. Accord­ing to Michael Mills - the on-site public relations man - the contractors are 'working to a tight schedule'. However 'things change daily', and despite the weather they hope to make up the lost time in the next few months. Tony Harmsworth, of the Canal Authority, said that he was pleased with progress, the slippage being understandable considering the wet weather which had dogged the winter months.

The work has been made necessary by the Blackwater Valley Relief Road which links the Hog's Back and M3, and whose route dissects the canal along the Ash Embankment. The road will relieve congestion by providing a real alternative to the current roads which pass through the built-up areas of Farnborough and Aldershot.

The canal has been severed along the Ash Embankment so as to make way for the road, and a new concrete aqueduct is being built to join the two portions of the canal together, and then carry them over the dual carriageway. The concrete aqueduct will sit on four large columns, all of which have already been

cast, and there will be stop locks at each end so that the aqueduct can be easily drained should it need repairs. The design of the aqueduct is similar to that installed on the Grand Union at Milton Keynes, and will enable boats to pass above what will be a very busy dual road.

Tony Harmsworth pointed out that after the contractors have handed over the aqueduct, 'all sorts of tests will have to be carried out' by Basingstoke Canal Authority. The aqueduct will be slowly filled with water and all the joints and locks gates will be tested, and the re-puddled embankment checked for any sign of leaks. However, if all goes well the two sections of the canal should be rejoined sometime in July, and an opening ceremony is being planned for either 29th or 30* July when the Mayor of Guildford will pass over the new aqueduct in the John Pinkerton.

Arthur Dungate is preparing an audio-visual of this major engineering operation. He will give a visual update on progress at the Annual General Meeting in April and a complete account of the operation sometime in the autumn.
John Elliott

 (19K) A view of the work on the new aqueduct at Ash
(Dieter Jebens)

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page 8

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

A Testing Time

One of the consequences of the Marchioness disaster is that from 1995, those who captain the John Pinkerton must have passed a Department of Transport test and be passed medically fit by their doctor. The DoT charge £102 for each test and the doctor's charges have varied between a free medical - which was provided by Dr. Aubrey of Fleet - and £50 which a practice in Woking charged for the same examination. As an aspiring John Pinkerton captain said 'I told him that the whole thing was for a charitable cause, but it cut no ice with him, and he charged the standard amount for this type of examination'. Obviously charity begins at home for some doctors.

In addition to testing the captains the DoT, through its agency the Marine Safety Agency, also tests the John Pinkerton once a year to make sure it is soundly maintained and properly equipped. During the last year the boat company has paid almost £1,500 to the DoT, and something like another £1,000 will have to be paid before the season starts. Peter Redway's generous offer to pay for his own licence examination is acknowledged with grateful thanks.

This drain on resources is having an effect on all the charitable, voluntarily run, canal societies and trusts, and has led to a demand for a new category of boatman's licence which is more applicable to inland waterways. It seems absurd that the same tests are applied to a boat on the Basingstoke Canal as to a pleasure steamer on the tidal Thames. The Stourbridge Navigation Trust claim these regulations have changed a £1,000 a year profit into a £2,000 a year loss, and in a letter to the DoT, Alan Smith the vice-chairman, claims there is a 'need for a category of licence, formulated to meet the needs of the relatively low numbers of passengers being transported for pleasure, along our narrow, shallow, almost static inland waterways'. Kathryn Dodington has made much the same point in a recent letter to the Department and the hope is that some form of self testing can be introduced that will spare organisations like the Canal Society most of the financial burden that it currently has to carry. (Regrettably the letter met with a negative response - Ed and letter writer!)
John Elliott

The Community Action team led by Ken Halls has been transferred by the Department of Employment from the Civic Trust to Grand Metropolitan Community Services Trust. GrandMet Trust are well experienced in running Community Action teams. The Basingstoke Canal team has been employed on bankside clearance, towpath surfacing, installing paddle culvert access covers, paddle culvert and bywash blockage removal and access chamber rework at lock 10. A further full programme of work is planned for 1995, including towpath improvement through Fleet using Hart District Council's £15,000 grant to the Society. It is gratifying to note that over 50% of the participants in the Community Action Scheme have found new employment during their maximum of 6 months on the scheme.

1,194 Man Days
Society volunteer working parties and community action teams together have contributed 1,194 man days over the last 6 months. Valued at £60 per day - the figure quoted by the JMC vice-chairman - this amounts to a labour value of £71,640. In addition the Society has contributed equipment and materials to the working parties amounting to over £23,000 during the last year and much has been contributed through sponsorship - see left for a full list of sponsors - from firms.

On 3rd / 4th December the Society hosted a working party of 50 volunteers from Waterways Recovery Group, and a further 18 visited in February to lay and roll the stone surface of the towpath being recovered west of Greywell Tunnel.

Donations Received for canal work
Chapman & Smith, BrightonDonated Eye shields, spectacles, dust masks and ear plugs
Cheiftan Forge Ltd, West LothianDiscount on saws and spades
JB Corrie Ltd, PetersfieldDonated wheelbarrows
Dunlop Ltd, LiverpoolWaders available at special price
Hypasafe Ltd, SheffieldDonated Eye shields, spectacles, dust masks and protective gloves
ICI, SloughApplication for donation for paint to be made in April 1995
JB Industrial, WemblyDonated assortment of gloves
Johnstone Paints, ReadingPaint available at charity rate
John Palmer, PortsmouthDonated paint brushes
Stanley Tools, SheffieldDonated handtools to value of £400
Stihl, Camberley16" Chainsaw donated
Trailer Barrow, Uckfield15% discount off wheelbarrows

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page 9

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

Wednesday 5th April
Guided walk Winchfield/Dogmersfield. About five miles. Start from Barley Mow car park at 09:45. Led by Ranger David James, it will relate to the historical aspects of the canal and Dogmersfield Park. Bring wellies. Dogs allowed if under control.
Saturday 15th April
Hare and Hounds Canoe run. 10:00-12:00. Reading Road Wharf to Eelmoor Flash and back.
Saturday - Monday 15th - 17th April
Easter Egg hunt Canal Centre between 10:30 and 17:00. Includes 20 min boat trip. £2:00 children, £2:50 adults. Book with Canal Centre (01252) 370073.
Sunday 30th April
Sponsored walk by Lions Club. Mytchett to Brookwood.
Saturday 13th May
Dawn birdsong chorus, Deepcut. Meet Howfields Cottage near Pirbright Bridge 05:00. Lasts about three hours. Led by Ranger Peter Bickford.
Saturday 20th May
Canoe run. Details as for 15th April
Sunday 21st May
Basinqstoke Canal Challenge. This is a sponsored canoe challenge event in aid of Boats for the Handicapped. Sponsor a canoeist as your contribution to the new boat. Contact Doreen Steel (01252) 617315 for details.
Saturday - Sunday 27th - 28th May
Bridge Barn Canal Festival. Details from Peter Coxhead on (01932) 344564. Boat rally, craft stands, music, entertainment.
Sunday 4th June
Crazy Coot Challenge Triathalon (run, canoe, cycle). From Basingstoke Canal Centre.
Wednesday 7th June
Guided walk. As for 5th April
Saturday 11th June
Canoe marathon. Barley Mow. Also St John's Ambulance sponsored walk Reading Road Wharf to Barley Mow.
Saturday - Sunday 17th - 18th June
Canalware painting course. Details from Canal Centre (01252) 370073
17th-25th June
Midsummer cruises from Canal Centre. Learn how lock gates are made. Details from Canal Centre (01252) 370073
Friday 30th June
Aqueduct due for completion
Sunday 9th July
Bumblebees on the canal (2 - 3 hours). Howfields Cottage near Pirbright Bridge 10:00. Led by Ranger Tony Beecher.
Saturday 15th July
Fleet Carnival. Also Mikron Theatre at Reading Road Wharf 19:00. Details from Doug Morgan (01252) 623346
Sunday 23rd July
Dragonflies on the canal. Meet Howfields Cottage near Pirbright Bridge 12:00. Led by Ranger Peter Bickford.
Saturday - Sunday 29th - 30th July
Ash Canal Festival. Including formal opening of the aqueduct. Boat trips, boat rally, entertainment.
Wednesday 2nd August
Guided walk as for 5th April
Saturday 5th August
Dragonflies. As for 20th July
Saturday 19th August
Canoe run. As for 15th April
Sunday 20th August
Westel Canoe trials. Canal Centre
Saturday - Sunday 9th - 10th September
Basingstoke Canal Autumn Festival. Demonstrations of lock gate construction, weedcutting, dredging, canalware painting and other canal skills.
Saturday 16th September
Canoe run. As for 15th April
16th September - 29th October
Autumn cruises from Canal Centre
Saturday - Sunday 21st - 22nd October
Fender making course. Details from Canal Centre
Tuesday 31st October
Halloween Celebration. Canal Centre 18:00. Haunted trips along the canal. Book with Canal Centre.
Saturday 18th November
Canoe Run. As for 15th April
Saturday 26th November
Christmas Craft Fayre at the Canal Centre 10:00 -17:00. Weekends in December
Santa cruies from the Canal Centre. 10:00 -17:00
Saturday 16th December
Canoe run. As for 15th April
24th December - 4th January 1996
Christmas / New Year boat rally.

And of course through the summer (14th April - 8th October) our own John Pinkerton is available for 2-1/2 hour private charters and public cruises. Colt Hill, Odiham until 30th June. Barley Mow, Winchfield from 1st July. Public cruises from Reading Road Wharf on Bank Holiday weekends. Ring Carol Munro (01252) 811707 for details.

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page 10

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

GEOprojects map of the Basingstoke Canal. Price £3.00.

In view of her natural reticence, our member Sue Palmer may be relieved to see that she no longer graces the front cover of the second edition of GEOprojects' 1:51 500 scale map of the Basingstoke Canal. This second edition gets right up-to-date with a dotted line depicting the Blackwater Valley relief road, 'Lockside Teas' marked at Lock 28 and the helpful information 'private military road', showing Brunswick Road through Pirbright Camp is not accessible without a pass. Even trip boats are marked on the map itself with the John Pinkerton at Colt Hill and Barley Mow.

Winding holes, low bridges and boating services are marked. Names and addresses of clubs and lot of topographical and historic information is included. Full marks to GEOprojects for this well researched and clearly printed map of value to boater, walker and armchair explorer alike.
Dieter Jebens

'London to Portsmouth Waterway' by P.A.L. Vine, published by Middleton Press, price £9.95 from booksellers or post paid direct from the publisher at Easeborune Lane, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9AZ.

'London to Portsmouth Waterway' is not an account of a long lost canal we never knew existed, but a fine collection of pictures which the author Paul Vine has, presumably, collected while researching the growing number of waterways books under his name.

In addition to his well known 'London's Lost Route...' titles chronicling the histories of the Basingstoke and Wey & Arun canals, first published by David & Charles and more recently by Alan Sutton, Middleton Press have published four photographic volumes by Paul Vine. This new 94-page book is another in the series. The compilation of pictures, engravings and maps, supported by well observed captions, covers the 115-mile route with 52 locks from Queenshithe Wharf in the Pool of London to Portsmouth Harbour. Although the title might imply one waterway, the route was, of course, made up of the Thames, Wey and Godalming navigations, Wey & Arun Canal the Arun and the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal.

Paul Vine's enthusiasm for inland waterways (his home is on the banks of the Arun), his appetite for researching and discovering the past, coupled to his skill as an informed writer, makes for another fascinating book: the inclusion of the Grosvenor Canal, opened in 1823, with its entrance on the Thames just below Chelsea Bridge; the fact that redcoats guarded barge loads of gold transported from Portsmouth to the Bank of England by the inland navigations and many unusual pictures, such 'Swanbourne' loaded with chalk on the Arun in 1948 the year before it ceased trading.

A good book to dip into or study from start to finish.
Dieter Jebens

Greywell Meeting not Dull
With a population of 187 it was quite amazing to see 250 people at the recent Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council meeting at Greywell village hall to discuss the Council's proposals for the last five miles. It seemed that the general opinion was 'not in my back yard'.

A couple of attempts were made at starting the meeting owing to the confusion over the kick-off time but start it finally did.

The presentation centred on the advantages to Basingstoke from the restoration with Neil Cole, the project manager, admitting that there was little positive advantage to Greywell as they already had a canal.

The questioning was highly emotional with the Whitewater winding hole being compared to spaghetti junction and questioning about the use of water for the canal when other uses seemed more appropriate. As Greywell is not part of Basingstoke and Deane but rather part of Hart District it would not be represented at the 18 May meeting. The solicitor for Basingstoke, in response to a well aimed question, said that they could compulsorily purchase within another district.

The main concern of the villagers was disruption during the construction phase and the thought that Sunday boaters from Basingstoke would be attracted to the tunnel. There were several emotional rallying calls; one of which was from a gentleman living on top of Greywell Hill who claimed to be over seventy. He declared with gusto that he would not live to see the plans come to fruition but said 'This village will fight you to the death' - and it appeared he may well be right.
John Elliott

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page 11

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

Ron McLaughin visits Perseverance
Recently I was in the Chester area with a few minutes to spare so I thought I would call in to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port to see if Perseverance was there. As usual with these spur of the moment actions, I arrived before the museum was open and nearly went away again. Luckily, at that moment one of the canal workers came to the gate. After explaining why I was there he directed me to the administration block.

Much to my surprise I was welcomed with open arms because, they said, they were always pleased to have first hand information.

After a session with the archivist I was introduced to Jim who is responsible for the restoration of Perseverance. He was exceedingly kind and showed me round the area where the work has been underway.

Unfortunately, on stripping the boiler, now standing on the ground outside the hull, they found the back of the fire box had been badly damaged by fire. The problem is compounded by the fact that the backplate had been welded on a previous occasion. The fire has burnt through part of this weld making it impossible to repair by simple welding. It means that a new back plate has to be fitted. The back plate supports the boiler tubes which are welded into it, so it will have to be re-tubed - a large job for a specialist boilermaker. Fortunately suitable boilermakers are available but money has to be raised to cover it. A grant has been agreed which means that work can proceed as soon as it is received.

In the meantime the hull and pontoons have been examined with the thin parts being strengthened and the whole surface painted for protection. The hoisting gear is in good condition although some of the gearing requires rebuilding.

All in all a much larger problem than first anticipated but restoration seems to be well planned and the work in very good hands. However, I think it will be at least another year and probably longer before we see it working again.

In the meantime we wish the Museum all the best of luck in their work.

Bourley Hill Reservoirs
Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick have made an interim report on the Bourley Hill reservoirs, indicating that 200,000 to 400,000 gallons of water per day could be made available at low capital cost. An approach has been made to the MoD for agreement in principle for this scheme.

Canal Tokens
The Society has generously been given, in will of Mr RW Smith, the following canal tokens:
John Pinkerton Shilling (1789)
Stort Navigation source of Trade token (1795)
Thames and Severn Canal token (1795)
Manchester Halfpenny (1795)
Iron Bridge at Coalbrookdale token (1792)

The Society is extremely grateful for these rare and valuable tokens which we hope to mount and retain for the Society. The Editors hope to publish fuller information, with pictures, about these tokens in the next issue.

Woking Moorings
Moorings built by Community Action and Society volunteers in Woking were formally opened on 1st December by the Mayor of Woking. Materials and equipment were provided by the Canal Authority and Woking Borough Council.

Canal Contribution to War Effort
Users of the canal now now inform themselves of the origins of the tank-traps and pill-boxes around Tundry Park, thanks to the generosity of Amdhal (the computer manufacturer) of Dogmersfield Park who sponsored the construction of two interpretation boards near Blacksmith's Bridge, describing the canal's wartime defences which were hastily constructed in 1940 as part of the defensive line stretching from Margate to Bristol. The boards were unveiled by Mr David Hutton, Director of Human Resources for Amdhal.

New Lock Gates
New lock gates are being built and installed lof locks 7, 22, 26, 27 and 28. Paddle frames and boards have been installed at locks 15, 17, 18, 19 and 26.

John Pinkerton Crew Sweatshirts
The DoT have reccommended that all John Pinkerton crew wear an indentifiable type of 'uniform' in the form of a sweatshirt. If you are on the John Pinkerton crew list and don't have such a sweatshirt please call Martin Bowers on (01252) 513095. As the manufacturer will only accept orders in batches of 12 so you may have to wait a little time for yours.

Working Party Update
Due to lack of available space in this issue there is no working party update. This does not mean that there are no working parties. In fact the opposite is true. Please do call Peter Redway (01483) 721710 for up-to-the minute information.

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page 12

Please actively support Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in their enlightened proposals for the 'Last Five Miles'

Guildford Road Bridge
The reconstruction of Guildford Road (Kings Head) Bridge has been delayed by land aquisition problems, and so the work will not be done concurrently with the closure of the canal for aqueduct construction as had been hoped. The work is not likely to start until the autumn at the earliest.

Cutter suction dredging is well underway at Broad Oak, eastwards from the Odiham bypass bridge to beyond Wilks Water. Dredged silt is being pumped into lagoons at the silt site and allowed to settle, the water draining back into the canal. The work is being done by contract and will be completed when the silt site is full. This is expected to bve in early April.

Winding Hole
Agreement has been reached for the purchase of land to construct a winding hole east of Pondtail Bridge. Contractors have been invited to submit tenders for the work.

John Greenfield
As this issue is being prepared we have been advised that John Greenfield, our Mail Order Sales Manager, amongst other things, has died. We extend our sympathy to Janet. An appreciation of John's work for the Society will appear in the next issue.

New Members
Welcome to the following new members:
Ms BA Blofield - Putney
Mrs JE Dixon - Cobham
Mr PA Taylor - Bracknell
Mr & Mrs N Lindsay -Loxwood
Mr RG Fairburn - Ashford
Mr & Mrs CF Rowlandson - Farnham
Mr FR Blundell - Camberley
Mr & Mrs RM Connors - Hereford
Ms E Fairless - Teddington
Maj Gen & Mrs MHF Clarke - Fleet
Mrs AL Picket - Fleet
Mr B Miller - Fleet
Mr & Mrs D Burrage - Odiham
Mr D Dare - Mytchett
Mrs B Yeomans - West Byfleet
Mr G Howarth - Rugeley

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Copy date for Next BC News: 15th May 1995

Editorial Team:
Kathryn Dodington Sequoia, Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0EH (0483) 473630
Brian Fox 60 Dinorben Avenue, Fleet, Hants, GU13 9SH (0252) 613147

Chairman: David Millett 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9SW (0252) 617364
Vice-Chairman: Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (0256) 702109
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade 30 Hanover Gardens, Cove, Famborough, Hampshire, GU14 9DT (0252) 524690

Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR (0372) 272631
Dredger Manager: Mike Munro 46 Malthouse Close, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU13 0TB (0252) 624643
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey, GU14 4QG (0276) 32096
Working Party Information: Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Trip Boat Manager: Dieter Jebens 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
Trip Boat Bookings: Ann Bird: 25 Farnham Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9HZ (0252) 811707
Sales Manager: Gill Freeman 35 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139NE (0252) 624612
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield 9 Mistletoe Road, Yatetey, Camberley, Surrey, GU177DT (0252) 873167
Exhibitions Manager: David Junkison 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesley, Surrey, KT146BE (081) 941 0685
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU No Telephone
Talks Organiser: Janet Greenfield 9 Mistletoe Road. Yatetey, Camberley, Surrey, GU177DT (0252) 873167
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230

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Last updated April 2005