What started off as a short Sunday afternoon dog stroll, turned out to be quite an informative adventure. Just see what happens when you turn right, instead of (our usual) left on to the canal…
Well firstly the tow path is unexpectedly closed, apparently is it unsafe…which is incidental really when the alternative is manouverieng a big hairy doggie via the ‘diversion’ along a busy road…..without a lead!
I was thrilled with King John’s Castle, the actual desination of today’s walk. It must be about seven years since we last came here, probably on our mountain bikes and I remember it looking very unloved. Covered in brambles, scaffolding and feeling very sorry for itself, I wasn’t expecing it to be so bold and outstanding today. The restoration project completed by Hampshire County Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund under the guidence of English Heritage have done a supurb job. A local site to be really proud of, take a look at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-countryside/odiham-castle.htm
In the late 1780 John Pinkerton, responsible for building the Basingstoke Canal would have been posed with problem of crossing the River Whitewater, the result of decision to the problem can be seen here with small, but adequately purposeful aqueduct. During construction the River Whitewater was diverted into the outer moat of the castle to save time and effort on digging the culvert.
The 1,230 yard tunnel at Greywell was built between 1788 and 1992. It collapsed in 1932 and there were no attempts to revive it as the canal had ceased to be a commercial trade route. The tunnel is now a haven for bats, the cave like environment provides a constant temperature (100C) and high humidity providing excellent conditions for hibernating bats.