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Basingstoke Canal At Risk Through Decline in Funding

Published on: 5 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 4 Mar, 2024

“Great Bottom Flash” near Ash Vale station, part of the the Basingstoke Canal. When it was dug in the 18th Century, hollows in nearby land filled with water. These little pockets of water act as mini-reservoirs for the canal, helping to maintain water levels when otherwise it would be low.

By David Reading

BBC One’s Countryfile highlighted the risks faced by Britain’s canals on Sunday evening (March 3) – and the Basingstoke Canal is one of those that could fall into dereliction.

The canal, which runs from West Byfleet to Greywell through Mytchett and Ash Vale, has suffered a severe reduction in funding to support its maintenance and upkeep.

The Basingstoke Canal Society says it faces a real challenge to keep the waterway alive and open for future generations.

The canal is a valuable green resource for many thousands of residents, families, runners, cyclists, nature enthusiasts, anglers, tourists and boaters.

On Countryfile, presenter Matt Baker highlighted the risks to canals nationally due to reductions in funding. He said more than 10 million people enjoyed UK waterways last year.

Jointly owned by Surrey and Hampshire county councils, the Basingstoke Canal has its upkeep funded by local councils whose areas it runs through.

A statement from the canal society said: “Most local councils in the areas through which the Basingstoke Canal passes have considerably reduced and in most cases withdrawn their funding over recent months. This leaves the Basingstoke Canal in an extremely challenging situation with few options to move forwards.”

Richard Parry, CEO of the Canal & River Trust, encouraged the public to get involved to become more aware of the challenges faced by waterways.

The Basingstoke Canal Society is a charity of more than 270 volunteers who are guardians of the canal, promoting and campaigning for its sustainable future as a navigation and public amenity.

The society said people can get involved by:

  • Donating in order to fund essential projects.
  • Becoming a member and supporting charity efforts.
  • Getting involved as a volunteer.
  • Writing to your MP.

For more information on the society,  visit


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