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

///drilled.unscathed.farm

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?

No webmentions yet, be the first and tweet about this article