Works Update – A Fish Out Of Water

Canal Winter Works Progressing Well

Winter works are well underway on the canal. Our contractor, Kenward Groundworks are busy working on the locks in Woodham. These works are all as a result of the principle inspections carried out by our engineer before Christmas.

These are mostly structural repairs ranging from rebuilding wingwalls, pointing brickwork and replanking of lock gates. For these works to happen a full fish rescue had to take place to enable us to empty the water out of the canal. This was carried out by a team in drysuits in the canal sweeping through with large nets as the water level is gradually reduced over a few days with repeat sweeps to ensure nothing is missed. All fish have been moved upstream of Lock 6.

It’s always interesting to see what we find, whether it be unusual items on the canal bed or the different fish we find. Good news was finding some eels in the canal including some young ones. It’s  a harsh job undertaking a fish rescue in very cold conditions but thankfully they weren’t breaking the ice this year as they have had to in the past!

The contractors are working their way down the locks. Water will not be removed from the sections with houseboats in so additional dams will go in around these sections as works on locks 2 and 1 begin, along with careful water management to ensure the houseboats stay afloat. All works are due to be finished before the end of March.

Meanwhile our ranger team have been organising delivery and preparing for installation of our 2 new sets of lock gates for this winter at locks 28 and 27. Further updates on these works in the next issue.

Deepcut bridge step replacement is well underway. The towpath is still closed in this section though for the next few weeks. Please keep an eye on our facebook page for updates on when this will reopen.

Works to the canal edge to repair embayments along the edge of the towpath are well underway. We are still finishing off works that were postponed from last winter and then will be moving onto this winters work list. Contractors are currently working between Mytchett and Frimley lodge park working on this heavily eroded section.

The towpath generally has taken a real hit this year with so much additional use, and this is even more noticeable during the winter when that extra footfall has a direct immediate impact on the towpath surfacing, especially in areas of Hampshire where we do not have a made surface.

So please ensure you are wearing stout footwear this winter and be prepared for some muddy conditions if you head out for some exercise on the canal. Good news is that the Kingfishers have been very active and easier to spot with less leaves on the trees all along the canal.


Fiona Shipp
Canal Manager
Basingstoke Canal Authority