|The Basingstoke Canal at the beginning of restoration|
activities. It was a long time before this dredger
actually began operations. Note how well vegetated the
towpath is in the middle distance
|A view taken from Odiham Wharf bridge, 2012. |
Although the canal looks neat and tidy as do most
waterways today, the price of this organisation is the
total loss of its biological richness
At Crookham Wharf, I recorded part of a notice board displaying aspects of the Canal. The following is a quotation from that notice.
The Canal is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),
teeming with wildlife. It has a huge variety of dragonflies and
damselflies and has more types of aquatic plant than any other
water body in Britain. The Greywell Tunnel west of Odiham, is
Britain’s largest bat hibernation site.
|A view looking east from the old Pondtail Bridge taken from |
the same place as the 1975 photograph. The view is blocked
by the recently constructed road bridge
|The Basingstoke Canal beyond the recently built road bridge |
taken in June 2012. Note the total lack of any surface vegetation.
While there is a considerable biomass of bank-side
aquatic vegetation, very few species are present
In the 1990s, I visited the Royal Military Canal near Hythe in Kent. This waterway was built as a defensive measure and was finished in 1804. Since then it has developed a rich flora and fauna and is a candidate site to rival the ecological richness that was once the Basingstoke Canal. Aquatic sites such as the Basingstoke Canal are in short supply, and if any as rich as the Basingstoke Canal do survive, the ecological importance that they represent should be valued, and taken into account strongly when any conservation or restoration plans are put forward.