Andover Canal: A Portrait

Stockbridge to Horsebridge

Distance: 3.2 miles (5.2 km)

Stockbridge to Hooper’s Bottom

For the next 1.75 miles (2.75km) both the original single track and the later doubled railway were built on the canal alignment apart from easing a reverse curve north of Hooper’s Bottom. The canal and its replacement railway continued south along the modern Trafalgar Way, initially using the grassy verge on the west side of the road. After some 150 yards (133m), the road turns right but the canal carried straight on. Initially the modern path, the Test Way, is narrow as part of the width of the transport corridor has been incorporated into the gardens of houses in Trafalgar Way.

After another 300 yards (275m), on the west side of the path, is the northern access to Common Marsh. This is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and owned by the National Trust. Beside the River Test, it has wetland habitats including marsh, fen, carr, alluvial meadows and a large shallow lake. The marsh has a rich variety of flora, with 180 species of flowering plants and is a haven for various bird and insect species. On the east side of the Test Way is a NT car park at The Lion’s Den NG Ref: SU357346. WGS84: 51° 06′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 26″ W..

About half a mile (0.8km) south of The Lion’s Den, the site of Marsh Court Lock is passed. The exact location of the the lock is uncertain but it was probably several hundred yards south of Marsh Court Cottages Approximate position NG Ref: SU354338. WGS84: 51° 06′ 10″ N, 1° 29′ 41″ W.. The 7 feet (2.1m) step in the canal at the lock would have been “smoothed out” during the construction of the railway, making it difficult today to find where it was.

As Hooper’s Bottom is approached, around three quarters of a mile south of the lock site NG Ref: SU351325. WGS84: 51° 05′ 28″ N, 1° 29′ 56″ W., there is access through a gateway to a lane called Cow Drove Hill which leads to the village of Kings Somborne just over a mile to the south-east.

South of Stockbridge Station

Going south, the canal and later railway passed along what is now the grassy verge of the modern Trafalgar Way.
Image date: Apr 2011. © 2021 Google. Image from Google Street View. NG Ref: SU358350. WGS84: 51° 06′ 49″ N, 1° 29′ 19″ W.

South of Stockbridge Station
South of Stockbridge Station

Going south, the canal and later railway passed along what is now the grassy verge of the modern Trafalgar Way.
Image date: Apr 2011.
NG Ref: SU358350.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 49″ N, 1° 29′ 19″ W.

(63.9KB)

Former canal cottages

On the south side of the High Street at the junction with Trafalgar Way, stand some cottages that were originally built by the canal company, later to become railway cottages and now in private hands.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU358350. WGS84: 51° 06′ 47″ N, 1° 29′ 19″ W.

Former canal cottages
Former canal cottages

On the south side of the High Street at the junction with Trafalgar Way, stand some cottages that were originally built by the canal company, later to become railway cottages and now in private hands.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU358350.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 47″ N, 1° 29′ 19″ W.

(55.5KB)

The canal / railway leaves Trafalgar Way

The line of the canal / railway and Test Way continues south. For the first 100 yards, the path is narrow as part of the width of the transport corridor has been incorporated into the gardens of houses in Trafalgar Way.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010. © Chris Talbot (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU358349. WGS84: 51° 06′ 45″ N, 1° 29′ 21″ W.

The canal / railway leaves Trafalgar Way
The canal / railway leaves Trafalgar Way

The line of the canal / railway and Test Way continues south. For the first 100 yards, the path is quite narrow.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010.
NG Ref: SU358349.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 45″ N, 1° 29′ 21″ W.

(108.6KB)

North entrance to Common Marsh

Common Marsh is an area of meadow owned by the National Trust between the Test Way and the Marshcourt River (a side stream of the River Test).
Image date: 8 Sep 2010. © Chris Talbot (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU357346. WGS84: 51° 06′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 28″ W.

North entrance to Common Marsh
North entrance to Common Marsh

Common Marsh is an area of meadow owned by the National Trust between the Test Way and the Marshcourt River (a side stream of the River Test).
Image date: 8 Sep 2010.
NG Ref: SU357346.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 28″ W.

(71.4KB)

Possible site of Marsh Court Lock

The location of the site of Marsh Court Lock is uncertain but was probably several hundred yards south of Marsh Court Cottages.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010. © Chris Talbot (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU354338. WGS84: 51° 06′ 10″ N, 1° 29′ 41″ W.

Possible site of Marsh Court Lock
Possible site of Marsh Court Lock

The location of the site of Marsh Court Lock is uncertain but was probably several hundred yards south of Marsh Court Cottages.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010.
NG Ref: SU354338.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 10″ N, 1° 29′ 41″ W.

(107.9KB)

South entrance to Common Marsh

Access to the National Trust property near its southern end.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010. © Chris Talbot (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU354336. WGS84: 51° 06′ 02″ N, 1° 29′ 42″ W.

South entrance to Common Marsh
South entrance to Common Marsh

Access to the National Trust property near its southern end.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010.
NG Ref: SU354336.
WGS84: 51° 06′ 02″ N, 1° 29′ 42″ W.

(117.5KB)

Access to Cow Drove Hill Road

About two thirds of a mile from the southern access to Common Marsh, this gateway allows access onto Cow Drove Hill Road.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010. © Chris Talbot (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU351325. WGS84: 51° 05′ 28″ N, 1° 29′ 56″ W.

Access to Cow Drove Hill Road
Access to Cow Drove Hill Road

About two thirds of a mile from the southern access to Common Marsh, this gateway allows access onto Cow Drove Hill Road.
Image date: 8 Sep 2010.
NG Ref: SU351325.
WGS84: 51° 05′ 28″ N, 1° 29′ 56″ W.

(113.0KB)

Hooper’s Bottom to Horsebridge

Hooper’s Bottom is a small side valley in the hills that form the east side of the Test Valley. These hills have run nearly parallel to the former canal since leaving Stockbridge but come closer here. The railway marched across the entrance to the Bottom in a low straight embankment but the earlier canal made a slight deviation about 250 yards (230m) long and up to 20 yards to the east NG Ref: SU351323. WGS84: 51° 05′ 21″ N, 1° 29′ 59″ W.. The remains of this earthwork can still be seen. The hill on the south side of Hooper’s Bottom is known as Yew Hill. The canal and the original single track railway went round Yew Hill but when the line was doubled in the early 1880s the side of the hill was cut away by up to 30 yards in order to reduce the sharpness of the bend. A flat area exists between the two alignments but this is becoming obscured by trees and bushes.

South of this deviation, the railway alignment is today used as a roadway providing access to the fishing lakes of John O Gaunt’s Fishery which lie to the west of the Test Way. After about 300 yards (275m), the Test Way is crossed by the Clarendon Way (a path linking the cathedrals at Winchester and Salisbury) and is joined from the west by the Monarch’s Way (a 583 mile (938km) path based on the lengthy route taken by King Charles II during his escape to Shoreham-by-Sea after his defeat by Cromwell at Worcester in 1651).

The Test Way and the Monarch’s Way both follow the course of the railway to Horsebridge and beyond. However, after about 900 yards (820m) the canal turned quite sharply left NG Ref: SU346307. WGS84: 51° 04′ 31″ N, 1° 30′ 24″ W. just before it would have had to cross a side stream of the River Test known as the Park Stream. The railway crossed this stream twice but by deviating from the straight line the construction of two canal aqueducts had been avoided. Almost immediately the canal passed through Chalkhill Lock of which there are scant remains. It is said that during conversion of the waterway to a railway many bricks from the canal’s structures were reused. However, the lock is listed by Historic England as a Scheduled Monument (number 227837).

After leaving the lock the line of the canal swings in an arc through about 90 degrees keeping the Park Stream on its right. Today part of this line is used as a track to gain access to fields to the north and east of the canal. This track emerges onto the road from the village of Houghton beside the John of Gaunt public house (formerly The Railway Inn) at Horsebridge where there was once a bridge under the road.

Access road

About 300 yards (275m) of the course of the canal / railway is now used as an access road to the lakes of John O Gaunt’s Fishery.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012. © Bill Nicholls (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU350316. WGS84: 51° 04′ 59″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

Access road
Access road

About 300 yards (275m) of the course of the canal / railway is now used as an access road to the lakes of John O Gaunt’s Fishery.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012.
NG Ref: SU350316.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 59″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

(94.5KB)

Cutting side

Many of the chalk scars along the east side of the Test Valley are a result of digging out material to fill in the canal bed to allow the railway to be built over it.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012. © Bill Nicholls (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU350316. WGS84: 51° 04′ 59″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

Cutting side
Cutting side

Many of the chalk scars along the east side of the Test Valley are a result of digging out material to fill in the canal bed to allow the railway to be built over it.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012.
NG Ref: SU350316.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 59″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

(106.9KB)

Crossing paths

South of Yew Hill, the Test Way is crossed by the Clarendon Way and joined from the west by Monarch’s Way. This view is looking west.
Image date: 10 May 2010. © Tim Heaton (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU350315. WGS84: 51° 04′ 56″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

Crossing paths
Crossing paths

South of Yew Hill, the Test Way is crossed by the Clarendon Way and joined from the west by Monarch’s Way. This view is looking west.
Image date: 10 May 2010.
NG Ref: SU350315.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 56″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

(76.0KB)

Test Way looking south

This picture shows the Test Way (and the accompanying Monarch’s Way) going south towards Horsebridge from the crossing by the Clarendon Way.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012. © Bill Nicholls (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU350315. WGS84: 51° 04′ 56″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

Looking south on Test Way
Test Way looking south

This picture shows the Test Way (and the accompanying Monarch’s Way) going south towards Horsebridge from the crossing by the Clarendon Way.
Image date: 17 Mar 2012.
NG Ref: SU350315.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 56″ N, 1° 30′ 05″ W.

(69.1KB)

Test Way near Chalkhill Lock

Looking back towards Stockbridge along the Test Way near Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU346308. WGS84: 51° 04′ 32″ N, 1° 30′ 23″ W.

Test Way near Chalkhill Lock
Test Way near Chalkhill Lock

Looking back towards Stockbridge along the Test Way near Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU346308.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 32″ N, 1° 30′ 23″ W.

(123.6KB)

Chamber of Chalkhill Lock

Looking “upstream” towards the remains of the head of the chamber of Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2021 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU346307. WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

Chamber of Chalkhill Lock
Chamber of Chalkhill Lock

Looking “upstream” towards the remains of the head of the chamber of Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU346307.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

(135.9KB)

Remains of brickwork, Chalkhill Lock

Some of the remaining brickwork at Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 14 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU346307. WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

Remains of brickwork at Chalkhill Lock
Remains of brickwork, Chalkhill Lock

Some of the remaining brickwork at Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 14 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU346307.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

(132.7KB)

More remains of brickwork, Chalkhill Lock

Some more of the remaining brickwork at Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 14 Nov 2005. © 2021 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU346307. WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

More remains of brickwork at Chalkhill Lock
More remains of brickwork, Chalkhill Lock

Some more of the remaining brickwork at Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 14 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU346307.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 29″ N, 1° 30′ 22″ W.

(124.1KB)

The John of Gaunt public house

The John of Gaunt public house (formerly The Railway Inn) at Horsebridge stands beside the course of the canal.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2015 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU345304. WGS84: 51° 04′ 19″ N, 1° 30′ 29″ W.

The John of Gaunt public house
The John of Gaunt public house

The John of Gaunt public house (formerly The Railway Inn) at Horsebridge stands beside the course of the canal.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU345304.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 19″ N, 1° 30′ 29″ W.

(83.5KB)

Track beside the John of Gaunt

The track through the gate runs along the course of the canal towards Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2021 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU345304. WGS84: 51° 04′ 19″ N, 1° 30′ 29″ W.

Course of canal beside the John of Gaunt, Horsebridge
Track beside the John of Gaunt

The track through the gate runs along the course of the canal towards Chalkhill Lock.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU345304.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 19″ N, 1° 30′ 29″ W.

(86.4KB)

Horsebridge Station

Horsebridge Station is situated on the west side of the hamlet of Horsebridge and catered for the village of Houghton to the north-west and King’s Somborne to the east both about 1¼ miles (2km) away. After the railway was closed in 1964, the station was abandoned for some 21 years but since then it has been restored to look like a Victorian station. During the abandonment the signal box was dismantled and taken away by persons unknown. A replacement was sought and an example from Yalding in Kent was erected at Horsebridge. The station is now used as a wedding venue.

Opposite the John Of Gaunt pub, there is car parking off the station approach road with access to the Test Way. The long distance path is diverted from the railway alignment for about 170 yards (155m) around the west side of the station only a few yards from the platforms.

The canal, after passing under the road next to the public house, ran along the north side of the hedge/fence between the station area and Horsebridge Farm to the south. The 1895 revision of the local Ordnance Survey 1:2500 mapping shows that a railway siding extended along the canal’s route to within yards of the road near the then Railway Inn. The position of Horsebridge Lock is uncertain but it was probably along the fence between the station and Horsebridge Farm Approximate position NG Ref: SU344303. WGS84: 51° 04′ 17″ N, 1° 30′ 35″ W..

Horsebridge Station c1900

The station at Horsebridge seen from the road bridge to the north with the southern Park Stream bridge in the foreground.
Image date: c1900. Image from a postcard. NG Ref: SU344305. WGS84: 51° 04′ 22″ N, 1° 30′ 33″ W.

Horsebridge Station c1900
Horsebridge Station c1900

The station at Horsebridge seen from the road bridge to the north with the southern Park Stream bridge in the foreground.
Image date: c1900.
NG Ref: SU344305.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 22″ N, 1° 30′ 33″ W.

(43.6KB)

Horsebridge Station 1955

Looking north at a train arriving at Horsebridge station hauled by class 2 No 41304.
Image date: 17 Aug 1955. NG Ref: SU343303. WGS84: 51° 04′ 16″ N, 1° 30′ 40″ W.

Horsebridge Station 1955
Horsebridge Station 1955

Looking north at a train arriving at Horsebridge station hauled by class 2 No 41304.
Image date: 17 Aug 1955.
NG Ref: SU343303.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 16″ N, 1° 30′ 40″ W.

(47.3KB)

Horsebridge Station

The station was abandoned after closure for 21 years and vandalised. Since then it has been restored to look like a Victorian station.
Image date: 16 Apr 2013. © John Firth (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU344303. WGS84: 51° 04′ 18″ N, 1° 30′ 36″ W.

Horsebridge Station
Horsebridge Station

The station was abandoned after closure for 21 years and vandalised. Since then it has been restored to look like a Victorian station.
Image date: 16 Apr 2013.
NG Ref: SU344303.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 18″ N, 1° 30′ 36″ W.

(85.3KB)

Horsebridge Station signal box

Whilst the station was abandoned the signal box was dismantled and taken away by unknown persons. The replacement was originally from Yalding in Kent.
Image date: 10 May 2009. © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU343303. WGS84: 51° 04′ 16″ N, 1° 30′ 40″ W.

Horsebridge Station signal box
Horsebridge Station signal box

Whilst the station was abandoned the signal box was dismantled and taken away by unknown persons. The replacement was originally from Yalding in Kent.
Image date: 10 May 2009.
NG Ref: SU343303.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 16″ N, 1° 30′ 40″ W.

(112.3KB)

Horsebridge Station from the south

Looking north at the station. The course of the canal runs along the north side of the boundary fence through the trees and bushes on the right of the picture.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU343302. WGS84: 51° 04′ 14″ N, 1° 30′ 42″ W.

Horsebridge Station from the south
Horsebridge Station from the south

Looking north at the station. The course of the canal runs along the north side of the boundary fence through the trees and bushes on the right of the picture.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU343302.
WGS84: 51° 04′ 14″ N, 1° 30′ 42″ W.

(70.7KB)