Basing – Rainbow Close to Musket Copse

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The full 37 and half miles from the Wey to Basingstoke

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Rainbow Close follows the canal’s alignment

After the M3, the canal sweeps round in a long arc, almost encircling The Hatch, to enter Basing in a north easterly direction. It passses through a new housing development that has just been opened (2001) opposite Rainbow Close, just off the A30. The route then passes through Rainbow Close (above view, looking from the A30 north eastwards) and beyond the far side of these houses seen here, it passed what is now the site of a new house, and electricity substation, to cross Hatch Lane (below) where a pronounced rise from the A30 junction can be seen. To the right, looking over a garden wall one can look down onto a well preserved section of canal.

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Old Basing – House on the left is built on canal route

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The well preserved section of canal at Old Basing, off Hatch Lane. This state of affairs is all too short as the canal’s course is totally obliterated beneath gardens stretching off Belle Vue and Cavalier Roads, although the eastern boundary of the canal survives as trees and hedgegrows in places, as will be seen from the car showrooms complex just off the A30 at The Hatch.

Past the car showrooms at The Hatch, the canal’s course can be discerned quite easily from the A30, although the first part is actually gardens off Cavalier Road. Where the houses end (about midway down this field) the canal is back in existence, now entering a substantially long and deep cutting. This view, below, shows the canal, across the fields from the A30, as it makes a turn to the north west to head towards Church lane, encircling the entire village en-route.

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The Basingstoke Canal at the rear of properties in Cavalier Road. The still watered, but overgrown channel, runs along the bottom of the gardens

Below: This is a view from near the railway line, looking south east. The excavations for the deep cutting back in the 1790’s has left a spoil heap that stretches almost back to the previous picture. The cutting is quite deep, and the spoil gives the impression that the cutting is even deeper, although as can be seen from the picture, the spoil is actually raised above the level of the surrounding land, with the canal hidden from view away to the south west in the trees. Although this section is on private land, there are some points at which this section can be observed, by using a track that veers off to the east at Milkingpen Lane, where it meets the railway bridge, and fighting through undergrowth in the woodland as far as a barbed wire fence, so as to gain the perspective to the south east. Research shows that at one time, this lengthy section from Milkingpen Lane to The Hatch belonged to a company called Waterways Properties. There used to be notices saying ‘Private Waterways Properties Ltd,’ although none of these notices now seem to exist. It may not be genrally realised, but from The Hatch to Basing House, the entire canal was in a substantial cutting, which has been filled completely where redevelopment has taken place in order to make property more accessible.

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Spoil heaps seen near the railway line – the canal still exists is in a deep cutting to the left. The cutting was dug and the spoil deposited on the top sides, making the cutting look twice as deep as it really is

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On Milkingpen Lane, south of the railway, the canal passed under the road at what was known as Cuckoo Bridge. Milkingpen House (above) is on the canal’s alignment, and it is clear the lengthy cutting along here has been filled in completely. Cuckoo Bridge House (below) is a reminder of the canal’s existence. The plaque is affixed to an older, but substantial building south of the canal’s actual alignment. Looking over the other side of Milkingpen Lane, directly opposite the new property, one can peer down through the undergrowth onto a section, as yet undeveloped, of the former canal cutting.

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This view looks south along Milkingpen Lane. The barn is by Cuckoo Bridge House. The red arrow indicates the canal alignment and site of the old bridge. To the right are the remains of the canal cutting between Milkingpen Lane towards Church Lane

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Overgrown canal bed at bottom of cutting just south of the site of Cuckoo Bridge, Milkingpen Lane, looking in the direction of Basing House

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The parapet seen here on the right is all that is visible of Church Lane bridge, just off Milkingpen Lane. The bridge is still there but almost buried. The other parapet has been demolished to create an access drive to the Vicarage on the other side of Church Lane.

Properties situated off Milkingpen Lane in Basing, where the old vicarage used to be, is known as The Mead and it is actually on the line of the Basingstoke Canal. The canal was in a cutting and like other parts of Basing, it has been made to level with the surrounding land.

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By this cottage at the far end of Church Lane is the footpath that leads past the cemetery to Crown Lane, and also follows the canal alignment past the site of Basing wharf

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The footpath from Church Lane to Crown lane. This quiet path runs alongside an extension to the local cemetery but on the left hand side, behind the wooden fence, stood Basing Wharf. The wharf was in a widened section of cutting and this path actually ran along the edge of the wharf as old maps show

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Site of Crown Lane Bridge looking in Greywell direction

Crown Lane Bridge – no longer there but a slight hump reveals where it once stood. Of course, it may still be buried under the road, as research shows that at one time, only the parapet remained (like at Church Lane) but being so much lower, it actually formed the kerb of this part of the pavement on Crown Lane! Redevelopment and road improvements have seen this unusual state of affairs swept away. On the other side of Crown Lane can be seen Musket Copse. This private road is the canal’s actual alignment. The houses were built in the 1970’s when the cutting was filled and levelled. At one time it would have been possible to stand somewhere along here and looking along the canal cutting, view Basing House bridge, which is about where the centre of the picture is – perhaps 200 yds away. None of the cutting remains until one reaches Basing House Bridge itself. Both views (above and below) are taken looking along the canal’s alignment. It came under Crown Lane diagonally, and Basing Wharf was sited to the left in the above view.

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Musket Copse, Basing

Next: Basing House to Swing Bridge Cottages

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