King John’s Castle

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!

Who forgot to bring the 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

King John's Castle

The remaining building is the rubble core of the original walls which would have had a skin of dressed stone and flints

Fabulous shapes left by the ruins of the windows......a bit Gaudiesque I think.

That's right, behind bars....where you belong!

Unusual octagonal designed Keep

Holes for floor joists and a chimney

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.

Whitewater Aquaduct at Greywell, where the River Whitewater goes underneath the Canal.

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.

Greywell Tunnel - Home to Europe's second largest hibernating population of Natterer's Bats

Greywell Tunnel - Home to Europe's second largest hibernating population of Natterer's Bat


1 Comment

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One response to “King John’s Castle

  1. Kathy Mason

    We must revisit King Johns castle like you last time it was in a right old state, good job Hampshire County council and English heritage.
    Great to do some drawing there.

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