Basingstoke Canal


My parents and I went for a walk along the Basingstoke Canal in the Easter holiday.

We started from Brookwood station, famous(ish) for its cemetery, which was once the terminus of the ‘Necropolis Railway’ - providing funerals by train from London Waterloo.

Basingstoke Canal, heading west

However, we skipped the cemetery and instead joined the Basingstoke Canal towpath.

Footbridge over canal to towpath.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′19″N 0°38′11″W
Tree by canal, with memorials.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′20″N 0°38′13″W

Like other canals in the area, there are some defensive pillboxes left over from World War 2.

Pillbox front.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′14″N 0°38′49″W
Pillbox side.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′13″N 0°38′49″W
Lock and road bridge.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′12″N 0°38′52″W
Mossy sign.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′11″N 0°38′56″W

We passed the remains of a bridge over the canal (it used to carry a branch line into the military base), as the canal ran alongside the current railway line.

Tunnel under embankment carrying main railway.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′7″N 0°39′27″W

This area is home to a collection of Army bases including the infamous Deepcut Barracks. From down in the canal (which is indeed a deep cut), hardly any of this is visible, although we did see somebody wearing camouflage. But we heard a brass band playing, repeatedly, a small section of a piece of music. The sound drifted faintly from somewhere indeterminate; it was a slightly spooky feeling.

Scummy pools between the canal and the railway (1).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′9″N 0°39′30″W
Scummy pools, trees and shadows (2).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′8″N 0°39′34″W
Scummy pools, spider tree (3).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′8″N 0°39′37″W
Scummy pools, stump (4).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′8″N 0°39′39″W

The canal ran west in a roughly straight line for some distance, with many locks.

Tall trees by the canal.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′5″N 0°40′29″W
One of the many locks.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′4″N 0°40′34″W
Canalside trees on the way to another lock.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′59″N 0°40′44″W
The canal came very close to the railway at one point.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′57″N 0°40′50″W
Bridge and lock.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′57″N 0°40′51″W
Trees around a winding hole.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′59″N 0°41′10″W
Mossy tree by fence.
1/1000 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′2″N 0°41′33″W
Dry dock (looks like it’s in somebody’s garden).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′2″N 0°41′43″W
Looking along the straight canal.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′4″N 0°41′54″W
Large concrete pipe sections.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′7″N 0°42′26″W
Impressive graffiti on a bridge.
1/30 at f5.6, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′8″N 0°42′33″W
More graffiti reflecting under a bridge.
1/30 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′8″N 0°42′34″W
House with its own pipe bridge.
1/400 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′10″N 0°42′50″W

Basingstoke Canal, heading south

Eventually the canal turned a sharp corner to the left beside Wharfenden Lake. It then crossed over the main railway line and continued south.

Entrance to the lake.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′10″N 0°43′6″W
Building (part of the Lakeside complex).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°18′5″N 0°43′12″W
Nice boat.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′59″N 0°43′18″W
Electricity cables slicing a hole through the plantation woodland.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′43″N 0°43′16″W

The canal ran past some sports fields and a smaller adjoining lake before reaching the Basingstoke Canal Authority, which has a small museum.

1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′27″N 0°43′14″W
Green boat.
1/200 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°17′16″N 0°43′15″W

Later we passed Mytchett Lake before leaving the canal by Ash Vale railway station, to head home.

Mytchett Lake (building in background probably part of Keogh Barracks).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°16′53″N 0°43′17″W
Under a bridge.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°16′48″N 0°43′22″W
Canal siding.
1/200 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°16′42″N 0°43′23″W
One more bridge.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°16′25″N 0°43′13″W
Ex-boathouse by canal near Ash Vale station.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°16′24″N 0°43′13″W

Bonus pics (Staines)

Here are a few pics from a short walk around Staines and Ashford, passing scenic highlights like HMP Bronzefield, on the previous day.

Looks like somebody is trying to start an orchard on the common.
1/1000 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°25′49″N 0°29′21″W
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′6″N 0°28′52″W
I think this area used to be a gravel pit, now filled in.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°26′5″N 0°29′10″W

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.