Regarded as one of the most beautiful waterways in Britain, the Basingstoke Canal traverses the Borough from Brookwood to West Byfleet. It was built between 1788 and 1794 to open up routes from London to the coast but was never completed past Basingstoke.
A two-mile stretch from the Wheatsheaf Bridge in the town centre to Kiln Bridge, St Johns, features several bridges, two locks and abundant wildlife and can be accessed from Woking Town Centre. This stretch is also a conservation area. Alternatively you can access an additional stretch from Boundary Road to Sheerwater which has remains of industrial heritage.
In May 2019, the Town Wharf was officially opened by then Mayor Cllr Saj Hussain. It was funded as a joint initiative by Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council with a contribution from the Basingstoke Canal Society. Located on the northern bank of the Basingstoke Canal adjacent to WWF-UK’s Living Planet Centre and accessed via the Bedser Bridge, the Town Wharf aims to encourage boaters to visit Woking’s many and varied attractions and facilities as part of a longer visit to cruise the Basingstoke Canal.
The wharf creates an attractive area for everyone to enjoy by the canal side, whether it be a lunchtime spot away from the office, a place to get a few minutes peace and quiet, or a starting point for a jog along the canal. It also provides a focal base for the trip boat ‘Kitty’ which provides a visitor attraction in the centre of Woking enabling all visitors and residents to have an opportunity to explore their local waterway by boat. Find out more about booking a boat trip here.
Opened in October 2020, a pedestrian and cycle footbridge spanning the Basingstoke Canal at Chobham Road Bridge, now provides an uninterrupted towpath across the canal. The new bridge unites the two sides of the canal towpath without the need for walkers and cyclists to cross the busy road. The bridge design follows the characteristics of the surrounding area, featuring gabion walls, a non-slip surface, steel handrails with built-in bat friendly lighting and associated landscaping.
The project began in November 2019, commencing with a fish rescue and dewatering of the canal between Skew Bridge (the highway bridge spanning canal at Lockfield Drive) and Monument Road Bridge. The works were part of the wider Town Centre improvement project which is part funded by Enterprise M3. Further information is available here.
For more information about the Basingstoke Canal, check out their website here.