Basingstoke Canal Society – Projects update January 2021
To enhance the experience for all users of and visitors to the Basingstoke Canal the Society in conjunction with the Basingstoke Canal Authority has a identified a number of potential projects they would like to implement over the shorter and longer term.
We have now raised £14,500 towards the £20,000 cost of the project and donations continue to come in. Suffice to say we are incredibly grateful for your support.
Along the length of the canal there are many features of interest and places of historic significance. Currently little information is displayed for visitors. A long list of sites, worthy of special attention, has been produced and an initial 10 sites agreed for board placement.
From these Crookham Wharf, Farnborough, and Aldershot Military Town have been selected as the first sites to be implemented. Narrative has been produced for these locations and the design and manufacture of the signs is now being considered. Once mock-ups have been approved, the detailed locations will be finalised and the roll out can begin early this year.
The donations received to date is sufficient to fund the initial ten locations, while hitting out target will ensure we make visitors aware of all the canal has to offer.
Nine different types of World War II pillboxes are located on or near the canal towpath. And one of the most engaged topics of the Society’s followers has been the Pillbox and the history shared by the Pillbox Study Group and Tim Denton’s book ‘Wartime Defences on the Basingstoke Canal”; published by the Basingstoke Canal Society.
To establish how best to celebrate these surviving defences an initial appraisal has been undertaken. Ownerships are currently being researched following which a more detailed viability study will be made regarding renovation, access from the towpath, and maintenance including potential vandalism and misuse. Producing Information Boards would be part of the project.
Colt Hill Moorings, Odiham
There is a need to provide additional mooring capacity along the canal with potential locations being an ongoing consideration.
New moorings generate income, but have a significant capital cost. The Society owns a strip of land adjacent to Galleon Marine, and we are working on the project with the BCA to provide additional moorings here. However, there is no right of access to the Society’s land, and to achieve access to this land an agreement would need to be made with an adjacent landowner and their leaseholder, Galleon Marine.
Initial discussions have taken place and will continue through the early part of the year to establish whether a permanent access solution can be achieved, and the necessary approvals granted.
Last 5 Miles
A project to create a footpath emulating the last five miles, from the current end of the canal at Greywell to its original destination at Basingstoke has been initiated, although there are many obstacles to overcome.
Longer term projects
The sustainable replacement of all the Society’s fleet of boats, in particular ‘Kitty’, is a future project. To support of this project there is a secondary goal to provide electric charging points along the canal.
We are also looking at the long-term vision and protection of the Canal. To further enhance the sustainability and attractiveness of the environment and having Boat Basins.
The Society remain highly concerned about the landslip at Swan Cutting which impacts our ability to run trip boats from Odiham to the Castle and we are continuing to discuss this with the BCA.