Canal Authority Update June 2021

Vegetation Management

It’s raining as I write this, and I can practically see the grass growing! This week rangers are mowing and strimming to try and keep on top of the growth in the car park and picnic areas and soon drop back onto the towpaths. With over 64 miles of towpath to mow (up and down each side of towpath), it takes several weeks to carry out even one cut. Our cutting regime on the canal is relatively low compared to many other waterways. We usually only manage a couple of towpath cuts /season, so there is plenty of vegetation for the wildlife to enjoy.

A couple of young otters have been spotted on the canal recently in Hampshire, which has been nice to see, although there are still quite a few mink too.

New Glamping Bell Tents at the Canal Centre

The last few weeks have been all hands on to get our new Glamping area ready for opening. We have installed 4 large Bell tents on our campsite that will comfortably take a family of 4. We have a few last-minute jobs still to complete, but we hope to have these open in the first couple of weeks of June. Check out our Facebook page for the latest updates on this, and contact the office if you want to go on our waiting list of people to contact with first choices of dates.  

We are conscious lots of people are ‘staycationing’ this year and are doing what we can at the canal centre to expand our offer. The campsite is also open and lots of space still available, you do need to have your own toilet facility. The bell tents will be provided with an allocated toilet. We haven’t taken our formal publicity shots yet, but I have added some photos of where we are at so far, so you get an idea of what they look like.

Paddling Opportunities if You Don’t Have Your Own Boat

With the warm sunshine, the boat hire at Mytchett has been popular; call us to book your slot, rowing boats, sit on top Kayak, canoes, and pedalo’s all available to hire. Galleon Marine are also hiring their fleet of boats at Colt Hill, Odiham. where you can enjoy a paddle up to King Johns Castle.

We now also have quite a few small paddlesport based businesses operating on the canal, covering things like guided canoe trips, kayaking courses, paddleboard hire and lessons and trips, if you want to take it to the next level.

Visiting Boats Holidaying on The Canal

The regular rain has been great for topping up the canal, and our water levels are still very good; and we have been overjoyed to see so many boats enjoying holidays on the canal this season. Already we have had 34 Boats visit, some of whom have stayed for up to a month. This is a small number for busy waterways like the Thames or Llangollen, but lots for us. If you want to see boats going through the locks. Woodham and St Johns locks are open on a Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun and Deepcut and Brookwood are open on a Mon, Wed and Fri. Boats usually start moving through the locks from either end at about 9.30 in the morning.

Volunteers have been hard at work and loving getting back out again. They have already repainted the whole of the Deepcut and St Johns lock flights and have been helping with the lock-top grass mowing which has been hard to keep on top off as the lock keeper has had boats moving nearly every day.