Basingstoke Canal – St. Johns Locks to the Hermitage

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The full 37 and half miles from the Wey to Basingstoke

What might initially seem to be quite an elaborate turnover bridge, Goldsworth, or Longmans bridge, has simply been improved with a much better access from the towpath to the bottom lock of the St Johns flight. In the trees are the houses that make up Goldsworth Park, a popular residential area built in the 60’s and 70’s. Although they are now gone, there once existed the hulls of several narrowboats and barges along this stretch.

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Goldsworth, or Longmans bridge

The bottom lock of the St Johns flight of 5 locks, is numbered no.7. The flight is quite an attractive one – a large number of people use the canal as a short cut in this part of Goldsworth Park. The lock in the distance is no.8. No.7 was known as Langmans in older days (thanks to Reg Silk for the information)

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Lock no.7 with No 8 in the distance

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Lock 9 at the hamlet of Woodend

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Locks are numbered – except Ten & Twenty which are worded instead

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Lock no.11 with Kiln Bridge in the background

Below: Kiln (or St Johns) bridge. The plaque on the bridge tells us it was restored in 1991, the same year the canal officially reopened.

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Kiln Bridge, St. Johns

There are useful moorings by Kiln Bridge, for the shops in St. Johns, the local pub, and also because the St Johns and Woodham flights must be navigated the same day, it is also an overnight stop over point for boats going down to the River Wey.

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Restoration of the canal – hard at work on the St John flight during 1981

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Another view of Kiln Bridge, with the top of the St John flight visible

THE HERMITAGE

After the canal leaves St Johns, it becomes more rural and this is an attractive section to walk. The footbridge is known as Hermitage Woods and (below) a view of the stretch by Hermitage Woods.

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Hermitage Woods Footbridge

The Hermitage is the first of a number of locations where the canal is very wide. (besides the much smaller wide below the top of the Woodham flight) These are known as flashes, and are large pools that have been incorprated into the canal. But they are not just found on the Basingstoke – the Trent and Mersey also has some though theirs are due to mining subsidence.

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The Hermitage in winter

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The Hermitage seems to have befallen its credentials as an attractive spot. Recent tree clearance and the apperance of those wheely bins seem to have lessened its attractiveness since the last lot of photographs were taken. In my opinion Brookwood Lye has surpassed the Hermitage

Next: Brookwood

WOODHAM JUNCTION TO GREYWELL

Intro / Byfleet – Woodham Locks / Woodham – St. Johns / St. Johns – Hermitage / Brookwood – Pirbright / Deepcut Flight / Deepcut – Frimley / Basingstoke Canal Centre / Great Bottom – Ash / Ash lock – Norris Hill / Fleet – Crookham / Chequers – Barley Mow / Barley Mow – Odiham / Odiham – Greywell

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