Books and booklets


Here you can find details of the principal books, booklets and other materials that have been written about the Canal over the years by members of the Society, the BCA and others. Some are still in print and are available by mail orderSome publications no longer in print can be found for sale on the Internet from time to time. Several of the out-of-print publications are accessible in the Society online archive, links to which can be found below.

Books and Booklet for Sale from the Society

At some time in the future, we hope it will be possible to order these online. In the meantime, please bear with us. Some of these publications can also be purchased from the gift shop at the Basingstoke Canal Centre.

Except where indicated, to order please email Roger Cansdale at

Note: Please ensure cheques are written to SHCC Ltd., not to the Society. 


Basingstoke Canal

Restoration Calendar 2020 

£5.00   (£6.50 incl p&p)

We decided that for the 2020 calendar we would pay tribute to the extraordinary efforts of our many hundreds of volunteers over the years, particularly celebrating the lives of Robin Higgs and Dieter Jebens who were instrumental in the Canal restoration and sadly passed away in 2019.

The 2020 calendar features fascinating colour photos illustrating the truly historic feats of our volunteers during the restoration. We hope it is a fitting commendation of all of our volunteers, members and supporters, who have worked for over 50 years to transform a derelict eyesore into the stunning canal we enjoy today.

It is A4-size when hanging on the wall and it makes a lovely gift.

Pick one up at the Mychett Canal Centre or Galleon Marine in Odiham, or send your email address and your postal address to or @basingstokecs (Facebook/ Messenger).

Perseverance – Dredging the Basingstoke Canal 

Roger Cansdale

£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

The latest addition to the Society’s publications is “Perseverance – Dredging the Basingstoke Canal”, which describes the history of the Society’s old steam dredger, largely in the words of the people who were involved in the project. It starts in 1934 with the building of Dredger No 14 for the Grand Union Canal Company, describes its refurbishment and transfer to the Basingstoke Canal and its restoration to navigability of most of the Hampshire pound. The book ends with Perseverance’s situation today and a vision for the future.

It’s a great reminder of the attitude and spirit of the restoration years and a tribute to all those people who worked for nearly 20 years dredging the canal in Hampshire.

Lost Bridges of the Basingstoke Canal 

Roger Cansdale

£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

When the Basingstoke Canal was built, between 1788 and 1794, it was inevitable that its line would intersect pre-existing footpaths, farm tracks, roads, and other waterways, or simply pass through someone’s land thereby dividing it into two parts. Where these things happened, bridges had to be built, over 70 in all.

The last boat left Basingstoke in 1910 and over the following decades, much of the last 5 miles of the canal was abandoned and sold off and many of the bridges disappeared. However, several are still to be found if you know where to look. Elsewhere bridges disappeared simply because they were no longer needed.

The Canal Society’s archives contain photographs of most of these lost bridges and these and old maps form the basis of this book.

Wartime Defences on the  Basingstoke Canal

2nd Edition

Tim Denton

£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

Originally released in summer 2009 with a run of 1200 copies, this interesting guide sold steadily to a wide audience. A revised new-look second edition has just been published, updated to include additional information, plans and fresh pictures, many of which not seen before.

The booklet is an informative guide for those who are just curious or historically minded on how the canal could have played its part in halting Hitler’s forces in 1940.

Rambles on the  Basingstoke Canal

3rd Edition

Edited by Malcolm Brickwood and
Roger Cansdale

A5, 36 pages. Colour maps and photos

£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

This is the latest book to be published describing circular rambles on and around the Basingstoke Canal. The twelve walks have all been reviewed and, where necessary, revised by the local Ramblers and the book has a new set of maps. The walks are suited to families as well as more experienced walkers.

50th Anniversary Booklet

Compiled by Roger Cansdale

A4, 28 pages. Colour

£2.00  (£3.00 incl p&p)

Condensed history of the Canal Society and the last 50 years of the Basingstoke Canal. The Society celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2016, culminating in the Woking Canal Festival.

Guide to the Basingstoke Canal

3rd Edition

Dieter Jebens,

updated by Roger Cansdale

A5, 30 pages. Colour maps and photos.
£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

Dieter Jebens is a founder member of the Canal Society and his knowledge of the canal and its history is probably unrivalled. The guide contains a huge amount of information for boaters and walkers about the canal’s history, features and amenities. The maps show the canal and its surroundings from the junction with the Wey Navigation to the site of the terminal basin in Basingstoke. A ‘must’ for anyone wanting an introduction to the canal.

Revised extensively and brought up to date by Roger Cansdale in 2015.

A History of the Basingstoke Canal

A History of the Basingstoke Canal

Glenys Crocker, Roger Cansdale, Dieter Jebens

A5, 34 pages. Black & white photos.
£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

Originally written by Glenys Crocker and published by the Canal Society in 1973, this booklet has been revised and updated. It tells the history of the canal from the 18th century to the present day and contains details of the murky goings-on at the end of the 19th century that have only recently come to light.


Basingstoke Canal

 Dieter Jebens, Roger Cansdale

165mm x 235mm. 128 pages. Black & white photos.

£7.00  (£8.00 incl p&p)

Divided into 8 chapters, the book uses archive photos to take the reader on a trip through time from the junction with the Wey Navigation to the terminus in Basingstoke. The photos cover periods of the canal’s history that go back to Victorian days and show it as a commercial waterway also used as a leisure facility, and then its decline and restoration in the 20th century. It includes a 4 page history of the canal and maps of its original route and the canal today. Another ‘must’ for anyone interested in the canal.

Basingstoke Canal
Boats book cover

Boats of the Basingstoke Canal

Tony Harmsworth, updated by Roger Cansdale

A5, 36 pages. Colour and black & white photos.
£3.00   (£3.75 incl p&p)

Based on a series of articles written by Tony Harmsworth for the Canal Society’s newsletter, this book was first published in 1969. It described his grandfather’s carrying business and boat building at Ash Vale and had details of the boats that operated on the canal during its commercial days. A second edition added information about some of the boats that came onto the canal during its restoration in the 1970s and 80s. This 3rd edition now updates this information and adds historic photographs of many of the old boats described as well as those that may be seen on the canal today.


Books and Booklets Out of Print

Occasionally, the following out of print publications can be found for sale on eBay and elsewhere. Some have been added to the Society’s online archive and links to them can be found below.

London’s Lost Route to Basingstoke

P A L Vine
234 pages. Black & white photos
1st edition published by David & Charles in 1968
Revised edition published by Alan Sutton Publishing in 1994
ISBN 0-7509-0228-0

Paul Vine’s definitive history of the Basingstoke Canal was originally written when the canal was still in private ownership and the newly formed Canal Society was battling to stop it sliding gently into oblivion. This book played its part by raising public awareness of the canal and its complicated past. The revised edition continues the story through the restoration and re-opening to the point where Basingstoke Council was looking at the possibility of re-establishing the line into the town.
This very scholarly book is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in the canal. It is now out of print but both editions are not hard to find from Internet sellers.

London's Lost Route to Basingstoke
 Basingstoke Canal Restoration

Basingstoke Canal Restoration

Dieter Jebens & David Robinson

#48 pages. Black & white photos. 1985
ISBN 0 900945 04 4

This book was published by the Canal Society in collaboration with Fulltone Graphics  Ltd who did full justice to the many excellent photographs taken by Dieter and David. The book outlines the early history of the canal and then moves onto the campaign for public ownership and the restoration programme. The publication in 1985 came just over half way through the restoration, so much remained to be done but it was by then clear that it could and would be done. Most copies of the book were paperbacks but there was a limited edition of 125 in hardback. Copies do appear on eBay and Amazon from time to time and it can be viewed in the Society’s online archive.

Surrey Waterways
P A L Vine
96 pages. Black & white photos. ISBN 0-906520-51-7
Published by Middleton Press in 1987.

Hampshire Waterways
P A L Vine
96 pages. Black & white photos. ISBN 0-906520-84-3
Published by Middleton Press in 1990.

These two books provide an overview of the history of all the navigable waterways of the two counties, as well as some that were never built such as the Grand Imperial Ship Canal. They contain many photos that are hard to find elsewhere as well as some good maps which will help anyone trying to trace the waterways today. 32 pages are devoted to the Surrey length of the Basingstoke Canal and 37 to the Hampshire.  The books are quite a nice addendum to Paul Vine’s “Lost Route”. They are out of print but quite easy to find on, say, Amazon.

Surrey WaterwaysHampshire Waterways
A Key to Odiham Castle

A Key to Odiham Castle

Rupert Willoughby
A5. 22 pages. Black & white illustrations. 1998.
ISBN 0-9534428-1-0.

This booklet, published with the assistance of Hampshire County Council who now own the castle, is an excellent summary of the history of ‘King John’s Castle’ from its origins in the 13th century to the archaeological excavations of recent years. Maps and diagrams help to explain where the bits that have been hidden by the canal all were.

The booklet is nicely produced with some charming illustrations by Julie Anne Hudson. It appears to be out of print at the moment, but some copies may still be for sale on the Canal Society’s trip boat John Pinkerton.


David W Horsfall

141 pages. Black & white photos. Canal Press, 1981  ISBN 0 906986 00 3

Subtitled “The Canal Memoirs of a Coal Washing Man”, the book recounts the life of the Horsfall family aboard an aged narrowboat. ‘Adelina’ began its life carrying grain on the Severn in the early 1900s and was, much later, converted into a houseboat. David found her half submerged on the Erewash Canal and they all eventually ended up at Woodham on the Basingstoke Canal.  David became involved in the early efforts to save the canal and the rally in Woking in 1962, and the following year sold her to Tim and Liz Dodwell, the Canal Society’s current co-Presidents.

Sadly neither David nor Adelina is still with us, but his book provides a very entertaining snapshot of the canal world 50 years ago. Copies can sometimes be found secondhand and the text can be read on the Canal Society’s website .


The following publications from the early days of the Society can be found in our online archive. Some of these go back over 40 years, well before the Canal was restored. Click on the covers to open the links.

crestfc rest70 Basingstoke Canal Restoration
Dieter Jebens, 1967.

A proposal to restore the Canal, a consideration of the benefits that might result and a review of the alternatives. A provisional estimate of works to be done and costings is included

Dieter Jebens, 1970.

This was the Society’s campaign booklet for that year, in support of the full restoration of the Canal

Dieter Jebens & David Robinson, 1985

(For a review, see above)

gd84fc gd86fc inns76
Roger Cansdale, Dieter Jebens, 1984

An early edition of the guide to the Canal featured above

Roger Cansdale, Dieter Jebens, 1986

A subsequent edition of the same publication

Jon Talbot, 1971, 3rd edition 1976

A description of a dozen inns found along the Basingstoke Canal at various locations. Sadly, not all of these are still open

     nathist81 boats69 walks70
Jutta Manser, 1972, 2nd edition 1981

A description of the wildlife that can be seen along the Canal, and what to look out for during each of the seasons.

Tony Harmsworth, 1969

Based on a series of articles produced for the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society newsletter, this publication names and describes the boats that used to work on the Basingstoke Canal. Recently updated by Roger Cansdale and available in print (see above).

David Gerry, 1970, 7th edition 1987

A description of 10 rambles along various parts of the Canal, ranging from around 3 to 11 miles in length.

 newleasebklt putbckbklt Adelina
The Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, 1975

Background on the decision to undertake restoration of the Canal and a review of progress made thus far by volunteers of the Society

Dieter Jebens, 1977

Another progress report

David W Horsfall, 1981

(For a review, see above)

 jwp73report pwefc wstfc
Working party with representatives from SCC, HCC, MoD and the Society, 1973

Once it was clear that HCC and SCC were resolved to purchase the Canal, a working party was set up to give advice to the respective county committees on the problems of restoration, future use and management of the Canal.

Stan Meller, 1990.

A radical proposal for making the Canal navigable beyond the Greywell Tunnel

John Holder and Alison Granucci, 1977

A brief history of the Canal, and a description of the section between Greywell and Dogmersfield, including historical landmarks, bridges and wildlife

Wildlife on the Basingstoke Canal Basingstoke Canal - Value for Money Basingstoke Canal Heritage Footpath leafle
The Surrey Wildlife Trust, published by the Basingstoke Canal Authority     
Date unknown

This booklet illustrates a selection of the wildlife that thrives on and beside the Canal, with an emphasis on those species that can only be found here, or perhaps in a very few similar watery places.

The Basingstoke Canal Society and Basingstoke Canal Authority – 2010

A detailed analysis produced for local riparian authorities of the value of money of the Basingstoke Canal. Benefits include recreational opportunity, wildlife conservation value, local economy, employment, house prices, local drainage, health/wellbeing, and education, among others.

Basingstoke Heritage Society and The Basingstoke Canal Society, published by Basingstoke and Deane BC – 2007

A description of the heritage footpath that runs for about 2 miles along the original route of the Canal, from Festival Place (where the terminus was) to Basing House, Old Basing

Circular Rambles on the Basingstoke Canal Basingstoke Canal Log Book  Basingstoke Canal Bicentenary Festival
The Basingstoke Canal Authority, with walks researched by The Ramblers Association – 199?

Descriptions and routes for 13 circular walks incorporating the Canal in Surrey and Hampshire.

Extensively updated in the 3rd edition published in 2017 (see above)

The Basingstoke Canal Authority (Tony Harmsworth) – 1993

A brief guide to the journey up the Basingstoke Canal, with facts and figures and questions for you to answer.

Dieter Jebens – 1994

A commemorative programme for the festival celebrating 200 years since the Canal was opened.

40th Anniversary Canalside Jubilee
Roger Cansdale – 2006

A booklet celebrating the achievements of The Basingstoke Canal Society and its supporters during its first 40 years.

Roger Cansdale – 2012

A commemorative booklet published for the celebrations of HM The Queen’s Jubilee and of the 21st anniversary of the reopening of the Canal in 1991