Historical Information

The Basingstoke Canal was opened in 1794 to transport bulky agricultural products. The local nature of its business meant it was never a success.  A campaign for public ownership and restoration of 32 miles of the Basingstoke Canal to Greywell, near Odiham, led by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, formed in 1966, was achieved in 1991 when the canal was re-opened.  Protracted lock closures since then, to conserve water, highlighted the need to improve water supplies.  Back pumps were installed on the Woodham lock flight in 2001, grant aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the St Johns flight in 2005.  IWA’s National Campaign Rally held on the Canal in 2006 highlighted the need for further investment in the waterway to resolve maintenance and water supply issues.  The 1,230-yard Greywell Tunnel is blocked by a roof fall and protected as a habitat for bats, which has prevented plans to extend the restoration westward. It is unlikely that the last remaining five miles will ever be able to be restored due to development work, and lack of available funding (and interest) by the local authority, however, the society is considering if a proposal to create a new link to the Kennet and Avon Canal is feasible. The new link would be about 16-18 miles of new canal linking North Warnborough to a section between Aldermaston and Reading on the Kennet and Avon Canal to create a new cruising ring.

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See also:

Waterways A-Z
Map of UK Waterways

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