Itchen Navigation: A Portrait

Hockley - Tumbling Bay

Distance: 0.4 mile (0.6 km)

Hockley to the junction with the River Itchen

From the site of Hockley crossroads, going south, two routes are available to the walker:

Route 1 via Twyford Lane End Lock

This option follows the old line of the Navigation fairly closely but part runs alongside a busy road. This is the official route of the Itchen Way. At the traffic lights pass under the motorway by means of the bridge, following the right hand side of the road (B3335) towards Twyford. On the west side of the road some 100 yards from the motorway bridge, the southern end of the long culvert under the motorway interchange can be seen emerging into the canal bed. After about another 40 yards, the old towing path can be rejoined opposite the entrance to Hockley Golf Course.

Within a few yards of the road, the path passes over an old culvert that was once used to flood part of the water meadows south of here. Beyond the culvert, the remains of the next lock, Twyford Lane End Lock or ‘Lock No 2’, are soon encountered on the right.

Twyford Lane End Lock is near what was probably considered to be the end of Twyford Lane from Winchester even though we are not in Twyford village. Just a few yards south of the lock is a toll cottage (and formerly a toll gate) erected by the ‘Lower St Cross, Mill Lane to Park Gate Turnpike Trust’. Twyford Lane from Winchester would have toll-free but south of here a toll would have been payable to use the turnpike road.

This turf-sided lock is fairly overgrown and it is difficult to see a great deal despite some clearance and renovation work in 2011 as part of the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project. During this work a date of 1749 was found in the brickwork. A dilapidated wooden bridge crosses the lock in the position once occupied by the bottom gates.

The main River Itchen is reached in another 100 yards where the second route rejoins at the modern footbridge. This section of waterway used to be narrow, being hemmed in by a luxuriant growth of reeds on either side, but the channel between was quite deep. Now that so little water, if any, now passes along the Navigation from St Catherine Lock, the canal is almost completely silted up.

Bridge under the M3
Bridge under the M3

The north-western side of the bridge carrying the M3 over the B3335 Twyford road.
Image date: 24 Jul 2013. © Mike Faherty (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU478267. WGS84: 51° 02′ 16″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

Bridge under the M3

Route 1: The bridge carrying the M3 over the Twyford road (B3335).
Image date: 24 Jul 2013.
NG Ref: SU478267.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 16″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

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South end of culvert
South end of culvert

South end of the modern culvert carrying the Navigation under the M3 motorway seen from the canal bed above Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

South end of culvert

South end of the modern culvert carrying the Navigation under the M3 motorway seen from the canal bed.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

(113.9KB)

Culvert under the towing path
Hatchway under towing path

Within a few yards of the road, this culvert / hatchway seen from the bed of the canal passes under the towing path and once allowed the water meadows to be flooded.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019. © 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

Hatchway under towing path

Near the road, this culvert / hatchway passes under the towing path and once allowed the water meadows to be flooded.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

(123.4KB)

Culvert under the towing path
Hatchway under towing path

Within a few yards of the road, this culvert / hatchway seen from the south side passes under the towing path and once allowed the water meadows to be drowned.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

Hatchway under towing path

Near the road, this culvert / hatchway passes under the towing path and once allowed the water meadows to be drowned.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 03″ W.

(145.1KB)

Water flowing through Twyford Lane End Lock
Water flowing through lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock with water passing over the weir and top cill.
Image date: 28 May 1976. Image scanned from slide. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 05″ W.

Water flowing through lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock with water passing over the weir and top cill.
Image date: 28 May 1976.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 05″ W.

(77.1KB)

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock
Head of Twyford Lane End Lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock seen from “upstream” with the remains of the weir.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 04″ W.

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock seen from “upstream” with the remains of the weir.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 04″ W.

(107.3KB)

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock
Head of Twyford Lane End Lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock seen from the towing path.
Image date: 16 Feb 2017. © Robin Webster (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 04″ W.

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock

Head of Twyford Lane End Lock seen from the towing path.
Image date: 16 Feb 2017.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 10″ N 1° 19′ 04″ W.

(126.9KB)

Chamber of Twyford Lane End Lock
Chamber of Twyford Lane End Lock

View of chamber of Twyford Lane End Lock from the bridge at the tail.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 06″ W.

Chamber of Twyford Lane End Lock

View of chamber of Twyford Lane End Lock from the bridge at the tail.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 06″ W.

(113.1KB)

Bridge at Twyford Lane End Lock
Bridge at Twyford Lane End Lock

This delapidated wooden field access bridge crosses the tail of Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU479265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 05″ W.

Bridge at Twyford Lane End Lock

This delapidated wooden field access bridge crosses the tail of Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU479265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 09″ N 1° 19′ 05″ W.

(87.5KB)

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock
Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock

Wooden field access bridge across the tail of Twyford Lane End Lock from “downstream”.
Image date: 28 May 1976. Image scanned from slide. © 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock

Wooden field access bridge across the tail of Twyford Lane End Lock from “downstream”.
Image date: 28 May 1976.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

(92.8KB)

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock
Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock from “downstream”.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019. © 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock

Tail of Twyford Lane End Lock from “downstream”.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 07″ W.

(69.4KB)

Route 2 via the main River Itchen

At the traffic lights, cross the road and then, instead of passing under the motorway, turn right following the tarmac path along the A3090 road for about 50 yards towards but not crossing the River Itchen. Bear left down a path leaving the road to pass under the motorway along the east (nearest) bank of the main River Itchen. This new section of footpath was created during construction of the M3 when part of the river was diverted between Hockley Viaduct and the junction of the former route of the Navigation with the main river. The former route of the Navigation will be rejoined about 200 yards from the M3 at a modern footbridge.

Path to the River Itchen
Path to the River Itchen

The start of the path leading from the A3090 to the River Itchen.
Image date: May 2014. © 2017 Google. NG Ref: SU478266. WGS84: 51° 02′ 15″ N 1° 19′ 09″ W.

Path to the River Itchen

The start of the path leading from the A3090 to the River Itchen.
Image date: May 2014.
NG Ref: SU478266.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 15″ N 1° 19′ 09″ W.

(73.6KB)

River Itchen bridges
River Itchen bridges

River Itchen looking downstream from Hockley Viaduct with the M3 bridge behind the A3090 bridge over the river. The second route given in the text runs along the left hand bank.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477266. WGS84: 51° 02′ 15″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

River Itchen bridges

River Itchen looking downstream from Hockley Viaduct with the M3 bridge behind the A3090 bridge over the river.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU477266.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 15″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(66.8KB)

River Itchen bridges
River Itchen bridges

River Itchen looking upstream with M3 and A3090 bridges and the Hockley Railway Viaduct beyond. The second route given in the text runs along the right hand bank.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

River Itchen bridges

River Itchen looking upstream with M3 and A3090 bridges and the Hockley Railway Viaduct beyond.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU478265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

(66.1KB)

River Itchen downstream of M3
River Itchen downstream of M3

The main River Itchen looking south from downstream of the M3 bridge. This section of river was realigned when the M3 was built.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003. © 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478265. WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

River Itchen downstream of M3

Main River Itchen looking south from downstream of the M3 bridge.
Image date: 16 Mar 2003.
NG Ref: SU478265.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 11″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

(60.6KB)

Meeting of routes to Tumbling Bay

Before the construction of the motorway, there used to be a plank bridge across the canal at its junction with the main river used by fishermen to gain access to what was considered very good fishing. The building of the M3 saw the river re-routed and a much bigger footbridge replacing the plank bridge.

The main river and the Navigation now share a common course in a southerly direction. This section of waterway towards Shawford flows through lovely open countryside although noise from the motorway can intrude at times.

Much of the flood plain meadows on both sides of the Navigation south of the M3 to downstream of Compton Lock have been accorded protected status: either as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) or as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. Much of the meadows east of the Navigation are owned and managed as a nature reserve by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT).

Private plank bridge
Private plank bridge

Private plank bridge at the junction of River Itchen and canal leading to Twyford Lane End Lock. The red brick of Hockley railway viaduct can be seen in the background.
Image date: c1970. Image scanned from slide. © 2003 Geoff Crosley. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 09″ W.

Private plank bridge

Private plank bridge at the junction of River Itchen and canal leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: c1970.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 09″ W.

(89.6KB)

Private plank bridge
Private plank bridge

Looking towards Twyford Lane End Lock from the junction of the River Itchen and the canal leading to Winchester.
Image date: 28 May 1976. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

Private plank bridge

Looking towards Twyford Lane End Lock from the junction of the River Itchen and the canal leading to Winchester.
Image date: 28 May 1976.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

(84.1KB)

New footbridge
New footbridge

New footbridge at the junction of the cut leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: c1994. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

New footbridge

New footbridge at the junction of the cut leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: c1994.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

(75.0KB)

New footbridge
New footbridge

The footbridge at the junction of the cut leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019. © 2019 Peter Oates. Image scanned from slide. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

New footbridge

The footbridge at the junction of the cut leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 08″ N 1° 19′ 08″ W.

(101.4KB)

M3 under construction seen from footbridge
M3 under construction

M3 under construction seen from the new footbridge at the junction of the canal leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: c1994. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

M3 under construction

M3 under construction seen from the new footbridge at the junction of the canal leading to Twyford Lane End Lock.
Image date: c1994.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 07″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

(65.4KB)

South to Tumbling Bay

The path along this next section of the Navigation used to become impassable in times of high flow in the river during the winter. The path had become eroded and water sometimes overflowed the path. During the summer, it had become increasingly difficult to walk along the path between the junction and Tumbling Bay. Before the 1980s the much of the path ran along the course of the original towing path on top of the bank. However, a fence was erected very close or, in places, even on that path. Subsequently, vegetation, including bushes and even trees, had become established along here, protected by the barbed wire fence. The result was that, in places, walkers had to resort to walking along the side of the towing path bank almost in the river. In winter, passage could be quite difficult with higher water levels.

In 2011, as part of the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Project, the bank and path were repaired. In order to minimise the impact of this work, a monorail system was employed. More details about this can be found in the next section of this description.

Unfenced towing path
Unfenced towing path

Between Tumbling Bay and the junction of the cut to Twyford Lane End, an unfenced towing path used to run on top of its bank.
Image date: 11 Jun 1978. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477263. WGS84: 51° 02′ 05″ N 1° 19′ 11″ W.

Unfenced towing path

Between Tumbling Bay and the junction of the cut to Twyford Lane End, an unfenced towing path used to run on top of its bank.
Image date: 11 Jun 1978.
NG Ref: SU477263.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 05″ N 1° 19′ 11″ W.

(72.5KB)

Itchen overflowing towing path
Itchen overflowing towing path

With high winter water levels, the Itchen overflowing the towing path just south of the junction.
Image date: 25 Jan 2003.© 2003 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 06″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

Itchen overflowing towing path

With high winter water levels, the Itchen overflowing the towing path just south of the junction.
Image date: 25 Jan 2003.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 06″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

(59.8KB)

After remedial work
After remedial work

After remedial work the river is less likely to overflow.
Image date: 27 Mar 2013. © Shazz (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU478264. WGS84: 51° 02′ 06″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

After remedial work

After remedial work the river is less likely to overflow.
Image date: 27 Mar 2013.
NG Ref: SU478264.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 06″ N 1° 19′ 10″ W.

(86.4KB)

Repaired towing path six years on
Repaired towing path six years on

With high winter water levels, the Itchen overflowing the towing path just south of the junction.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.© 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU478263. WGS84: 51° 02′ 05″ N 1° 19′ 11″ W.

Repaired towing path six years on

With high winter water levels, the Itchen overflowing the towing path just south of the junction.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.
NG Ref: SU478263.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 05″ N 1° 19′ 11″ W.

(88.0KB)

Eroded path
Eroded path

The eroded path north of Tumbling Bay caused by walkers forced off the original line of the towing path by a fence and overgrowing vegetation.
Image date: 25 Sep 2009. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477263. WGS84: 51° 02′ 04″ N 1° 19′ 12″ W.

Eroded path

The eroded path north of Tumbling Bay caused by walkers forced off the original line of the towing path.
Image date: 25 Sep 2009.
NG Ref: SU477263.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 04″ N 1° 19′ 12″ W.

(67.9KB)

Monorail supply system
Monorail supply system

Monorail supply system in use for bank and path repairs just north of Tumbling Bay.
Image date: 2011. Image: Olympic Aquatic Engineers. NG Ref: SU477263. WGS84: 51° 02′ 03″ N 1° 19′ 14″ W.

Monorail supply system

Monorail supply system in use for bank and path repairs just north of Tumbling Bay.
Image date: 2011.
NG Ref: SU477263.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 03″ N 1° 19′ 14″ W.

(55.5KB)

Tumbling Bay from the north
Tumbling Bay from the north

View of Tumbling Bay from the north with the Twyford Drain on the left and the Navigation on the right - a view impossible today.
Image date: 28 May 1976. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477262. WGS84: 51° 02′ 03″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

Tumbling Bay from the north

View of Tumbling Bay from the north with the Twyford Drain on the left and the Navigation on the right.
Image date: 28 May 1976.
NG Ref: SU477262.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 03″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(77.8KB)

Tumbling Bay

After several hundred yards, at Tumbling Bay, a set of hatches (as sluices are known locally) are used to control water levels in the Navigation and in the Twyford Drain (which is NOT considered to be the main channel of the river). This leaves to flow along the eastern side of the valley near Twyford and past Hockley Mill. It was possible to see the remains of the concrete foundations for the old hatches a few yards to the south of the new sluices until recently but these seem to now be obscured

In 1863, these hatches were referred to in a report as “Willow Mead Hatches”.

Old hatches
Old hatches

Former hatches of traditional design at Tumbling Bay. Almost all hatches on the Navigation were of this design.
Image date: Before 1971. Image scanned from slide. © 2010 Geoff Crosley. NG Ref: SU477262. WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

Old hatches

Former hatches of traditional design at Tumbling Bay. Almost all hatches on the Navigation were of this design.
Image date: Before 1971.
NG Ref: SU477262.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(84.2KB)

New hatches
New hatches

Modern replacement sluices installed in 1971 a few yards north of the old hatches.
Image date: 28 May 1976. Image scanned from slide. © 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477262. WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

New hatches

Modern replacement sluices installed in 1971 a few yards north of the old hatches.
Image date: 28 May 1976.
NG Ref: SU477262.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(95.0KB)

New hatches
New hatches

The replacement sluices four decades on.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019. © 2019 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU477262. WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

New hatches

The replacement sluices four decades on.
Image date: 15 Feb 2019.
NG Ref: SU477262.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(124.9KB)

The pool at Tumbling Bay
Tumbling Bay

The pool at Tumbling Bay where water from the Navigation discharges into Twyford Drain.
Image date: 8 Nov 2017. © 2017 Keith Murray (cc-by-nc-nd/2.0). Image from www.flickr.com. NG Ref: SU477262. WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

Tumbling Bay

The pool at Tumbling Bay where water from the Navigation discharges into Twyford Drain.
Image date: 8 Nov 2017.
NG Ref: SU477262.
WGS84: 51° 02′ 02″ N 1° 19′ 13″ W.

(72.2KB)