The Basingstoke Canal is a fantastic local amenity, and is frequently enjoyed by walkers, anglers, canoeists, boaters and many others. It is a site of both rich history and scientific interest due to its extensive wildlife and nature. During these difficult times it has been interesting to see a significant increase in the number of people who have been using the canal for exercise and relaxation.
However there is a real threat to the canal. The owners of the Canal (Surrey and Hampshire Councils) already have severe budget constraints and realistically this tightening of budgets is likely to get worse. The result is that the maintenance and upkeep of the Canal will continue to deteriorate with the real ultimate risk that the canal could fall into disuse.
The Canal Society was formed back in the 60s when the Basingstoke Canal Society campaigned to restore the previously derelict canal and after 25 years work and the help of the councils, it was opened in 1991. Since then the Society has actively campaigned to help maintain and protect the canal. If you would like to find out more about them please visit: https://basingstoke-canal.org.uk/the-society/the-society-today/
. Given the ongoing council budget cuts, any help towards maintaining the canal and raising awareness is crucial, now more than ever. The Basingstoke Canal Society need your help to raise money, support projects and maintenance through membership, volunteering, donations and trips on their boats (Covid permitting).
The Basingstoke Canal Society is doing all it can to protect the canal but welcomes any help you can give them. So what can you do?
- make as many as possible aware of the challenges they face
- join the Basingstoke Canal Society and see the opportunities for volunteering and social events plus get regular updates. Individual membership is available at £15 and family membership at £20 p/a. To join online please visit https://basingstoke-canal.org.uk/get-involved/join-the-society/
- perhaps booking a trip on their 50 seater Trip boat based at Odiham or their smaller boat “Kitty” based at Woking. You can book on a public trip or charter the boat exclusively for a group (they are planning Covid ‘compliant’ trips)
- help towards the up keep of the canal by joining one of their work parties
- crewing one of their trip boats based at Odiham or Woking.
There is a real risk that if nothing is done the canal will return to the derelict overgrown state it was in back in the 60’s so please help to keep the canal alive.