exploring history

Basingstoke Canal - Discovering the lost canal section

It’s fascinating what you learn as you begin digging deep into the history of a place. Clearly there are some places I have just got to go in search of.

I know the area of the canal from Odiham Castle up to the Greywell Tunnel very well indeed. I’ve known it since I was a teenager. The section I’ve never visited though has been what lies to the west of it.

This looks useful, a set of circular walks along the entire canal but the one that interests me most of all is Greywell Hill Park which incorporates various interesting spots.

OS Maps 2 mile route around Up Nately and the canal

# What3words


I like this name because we are looking for a tunnel and it cuts underneath farmland and thus on the surface it remains unscathed!!

Map of canal area

Archive library

  • Wikipedia and the Greywell Tunnel

  • Bat conservation trust

  • The last five miles

    • There has for a long time been an ambition to restore the last 5 miles but as you can imagine this would now be close to impossible
    • Tunnel can’t be restored, due to it’s SSI status
    • 300 meter section collapsed
    • Basingstoke Wharf is now (amongst many things) Festival Place
    • Plans to establish a footpath and cycleway that follows closely the old route taken by the canal
    • Take a look at the London Canals website, as they may still have information on on the last 5 miles, a pictorial guide
    • National Library of Scotland
    • Canal Ring
    • Kennet and Avon Link
  • Subterranean Britain

  • Little Tunnel Bridge

    • The last boat to travel all the way to Basingstoke Wharf was thought to be February 1914 which had taken 4 months to ship its cargo of sand from Ash Vale. It had become very hard to navigate.
  • Historic England

  • Greywell Tunnel Photos

  • Youtube - The Bald Explorer

    • Whitewater River runs underneath canal, not through or into it
    • Part of the tunnel collapsed
    • Aldershot training army, boats etc
    • Anti aircraft guns were moved along the canal during the War to help stop many of the bombers reach London
    • 1794 canal was opened and originally would have been snaked around to Rotherwick and then Tylney Hall Estate
      • INstead routed through Greywell Hill
    • Ran until 1930s and was closed due to tunnel collapse and was not making a profit
    • The non-canal part is SSI
    • MEets Wey at Weybridge and not far from Thames
    • Agricultural, timber shipping
    • Tunnel 1300 yards long
    • Tunnel entrance Victorian
    • Largest colony of bats in the UK
    • Tunnel lasted for 140 years until 1930s when the collapse happened
    • They did show the other end of the tunnel but must have skipped a bit?
    • Who was the local guide chappy?
  • Youtube - Paul and Rebecca Whitewick

    • Matt their local guide
    • Steep cutting embankment
    • Looking for small bridge
    • Brick Kiln bridge with its two different parapets.
    • Basingstoke canal logbook, what’s that?
    • Up Nateley nature reserve, there is another secton of the canal I think?
  • Youtube - Adrian Oates

    • A very nice watch!

Can we find the opposite portal into the tunnel at Greywell and evidence of the part long defunct?

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