Andover Canal: A Portrait

Ashfield to Redbridge

Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 km)

Ashfield to Lee

South of the end of the “Mile Wall”, Lee Lane leaves the main road continuing the latter’s southward direction. It would seem that Lee Lane was probably constructed at the same time as the diversion of the turnpike road as part of the lane looks as if it was built on top of the canal.

For the first ½ mile (0.8km), the course of the canal runs inside a belt of woodland on the west side of the lane - much of it as a fairly deep, dry depression. The woodland runs as far as Spaniard’s Lane which crosses Lee Lane. The road then occupies the canal’s alignment for just over ¼ mile (0.4km) to the site of Lee Lock which lies on the west side of the lane. There are no visible remains of the lock structure but it is quite possible that it is merely buried under infill.

South of the lock, the overgrown canal, which often contains water, runs beside the lane for a further ¼ mile (0.4km) although the remains seem a little narrow and it may be that the canal was encroached upon during construction of the roadway. A short distance before reaching the junction with Lee Drove, the course of the canal crosses Lee Lane and then immediately crosses Lee Drove NG Ref: SU362181. WGS84: 50° 57′ 43″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W. into a wooded area a few yards west of a parallel stream.

The canal carries on to the south passing behind several cottages. It then swings round to the south-east passing to the east of Lee Manor. This section is relatively unaltered and sometimes portions of it contain some water. The canal bed crosses the railway line about 80 yards (70m) north of Coldharbour Lane Bridge over the railway and continues until it meets the approach ramp of the bridge.

The canal south of Ashfield Lock

South of Southampton Lodge, a length of dry canal bed lies within this belt of woodland on the west side of Lee Lane.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU362198. WGS84: 50° 58′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

The canal south of Ashfield Lock
The canal south of Ashfield Lock

South of Southampton Lodge, a length of dry canal bed lies within this belt of woodland on the west side of Lee Lane.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU362198.
WGS84: 50° 58′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

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Site of Lee Lock

The site of Lee Lock in the field beside Lee Lane at the north end of a overgrown length of canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021. © 2021 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU362186. WGS84: 50° 57′ 57″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

Site of Lee Lock
Site of Lee Lock

The site of Lee Lock in the field beside Lee Lane at the north end of a overgrown length of canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021.
NG Ref: SU362186.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 57″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

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Tail of Lee Lock

The site of the bottom end of Lee Lock at the north end of a overgrown length of canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021. © 2021 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU362186. WGS84: 50° 57′ 56″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

Tail of Lee Lock
Tail of Lee Lock

The siite of the bottom end of Lee Lock at the north end of a overgrown length of canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021.
NG Ref: SU362186.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 56″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

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Water in the canal

South of the site of Lee Lock, nearly 400 yards (365m) of overgrown canal runs along the west side of Lee Lane.
Image date: 27 Jan 2021. © 2021 Keith Murray (cc-by-nc-nd/2.0). Image from www.flickr.com. NG Ref: SU362184. WGS84: 50° 57′ 50″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

Water in the canal
Water in the canal

South of the site of Lee Lock, nearly 400 yards (365m) of overgrown canal runs along the west side of Lee Lane.
Image date: 27 Jan 2021.
NG Ref: SU362184.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 50″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

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Canal in water near Lee Manor

Just south of the cottages and looking east, the canal sometimes contains water. The later railway can be seen in the distance.
Image date: c2016. NG Ref: SU362179. WGS84: 50° 57′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

Canal in water near Lee Manor
Canal in water near Lee Manor

Just south of the cottages and looking east, the canal sometimes contains water.
Image date: c2016.
NG Ref: SU362179.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 36″ N, 1° 29′ 06″ W.

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Canal bed near Lee Manor

To the east of Lee Manor is this relatively well preserved section of canal.
Image date: c1990. NG Ref: SU362178. WGS84: 50° 57′ 33″ N, 1° 29′ 05″ W.

Canal bed near Lee Manor
Canal bed near Lee Manor

To the east of Lee Manor is this relatively well preserved section of canal.
Image date: c1990.
NG Ref: SU362178.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 33″ N, 1° 29′ 05″ W.

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View north from Coldharbour Lane bridge

The view north from Coldharbour Lane bridge with the waterway marked by a line of trees on the left and a platelayers’ hut marking the point where the railway crosses the Andover Canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021. © Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU363176. WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

View north from Coldharbour Lane bridge
View north from Coldharbour Lane bridge

The view north from Coldharbour Lane bridge with the waterway marked by a line of trees on the left and a platelayers’ hut marking the point at which the railway crosses the Andover Canal.
Image date: 28 Apr 2021.
NG Ref: SU363176.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

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The canal east of the railway

A short section of the canal lies east of the railway extending as far as Coldharbour Lane. It is sometimes full of water.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU364176. WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 28′ 55″ W.

The canal east of the railway
The canal east of the railway

A short section of the canal lies east of the railway extending as far as Coldharbour Lane.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU364176.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 28′ 55″ W.

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Lee to Nursling

South of Coldharbour Lane for about 650 yards (600m) the canal has been completely eliminated. The Ordnance Survey 1:2500 mapping surveyed in 1865 (the year the railway opened) shows no trace of the canal.

From the survey for the OS First Series One Inch in 1806-7 it would seem that Groveplace Lock was near or in the strip of woodland next to the railway Approximate position NG Ref: SU363171. WGS84: 50° 57′ 08″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.. This has not been confirmed and it may be that it was destroyed during construction of the railway. Certainly south of its site the railway was built along the canal.

It seems the next lock, Barber’s Lock, was a few yards south of the present M27 motorway bridge Approximate position NG Ref: SU363162. WGS84: 50° 56′ 40″ N, 1° 29′ 01″ W. but again this is unverified. The railway was built on the alignment of the canal as far as Dairy Lane Bridge. Just north of this bridge, Nursling Station was opened in 1883 and closed in 1957. The station master’s house is still lived in but the rest of the station has totally disappeared.

South of the station site, the railway and the course of the canal diverge - the latter curves away to the south-west carrying the water of a stream that has been to the east of and not far from the line of the canal since Ashfield. That stream’s course was affected by the construction of both the canal and later the railway. South of the station, the original course of the stream runs parallel to and south-east of the canal but today it is a minor feature. Both streams pass under a section of Weston Lane built in the 1960s where two sets of railings indicate the canal NG Ref: SU362157. WGS84: 50° 56′ 22″ N, 1° 29′ 05″ W. and the stream NG Ref: SU363156. WGS84: 50° 56′ 21″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W..

South-west of Weston Lane, the canal used to pass Weston House (apparently demolished in the 1960s) to Nutshalling Lock NG Ref: SU362156. WGS84: 50° 56′ 19″ N, 1° 29′ 08″ W.. Nutshalling is an old form of the name Nursling. Traces of the lock were visible in the 1960s - it is unconfirmed whether these remain today. South the lock, the canal used to be bridged by Mill Lane at a sharp bend in the road where today a culvert carries little water.

Canal route south of Coldharbour Lane

The orange line shows the course of canal that has disappeared south of Coldharbour Lane. Lee Manor is just west of the name ‘Lee’. Groveplace Lock was near or in the strip of woodland next to the railway at the bottom of the image.
Image date: 6 Jul 2018. © 2021 Google. Image from Google Earth. Image centre - NG Ref: SU363174. WGS84: 50° 57′ 20″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

Canal route south of Coldharbour Lane
Canal route south of Coldharbour Lane

The orange line shows the course of the Andover Canal that has disappeared south of Coldharbour Lane. Lee Manor is just west of the name ‘Lee’.
Image date: 6 Jul 2018.
Image centre - NG Ref: SU363174.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 20″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

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View south from Coldharbour Lane bridge

The course of the canal south of Coldharbour Lane has been filled in. From old mapping it would appear that Groveplace Lock was near or amongst the trees to the left of the railway just past the end of the straight.
Image date: 17 Sep 2006. © Peter Facey (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU363176. WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

View south from Coldharbour Lane bridge
View south from Coldharbour Lane bridge

From old mapping it would appear that Groveplace Lock was near or amongst the trees to the left of the railway just past the end of the straight.
Image date: 17 Sep 2006.
NG Ref: SU363176.
WGS84: 50° 57′ 26″ N, 1° 29′ 00″ W.

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The M27 crosses the canal

Seen from the bridge carrying Upton Lane over the canal / railway, the site of Barber’s Lock would seem to have been a few yards the other side of the motorway.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU363164. WGS84: 50° 56′ 47″ N, 1° 29′ 01″ W.

The M27 crosses the canal
The M27 crosses the canal

The site of Barber’s Lock would seem to have been a few yards the other side of the motorway.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU363164.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 47″ N, 1° 29′ 01″ W.

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Nursling Station

Looking north at track level through Nursling Station. The rails occupy the site of the canal.
Image date: Pre-1914?. Image from undated postcard. NG Ref: SU363159. WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

Nursling Station
Nursling Station

Looking north at track level through Nursling Station. The rails occupy the site of the canal.
Image date: Pre-1914?.
NG Ref: SU363159.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

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Site of Nursling Station

Although the stationmaster’s house remains, the rest of the station has totally disappeared. Seen from Dairy Lane Bridge, the M27 bridge is in the distance.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU363159. WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

Site of Nursling Station
Site of Nursling Station

Although the stationmaster’s house remains, the rest of the station has totally disappeared.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU363159.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

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South of Nursling Station

Looking south from Dairy Lane Bridge, the canal line leaves the railway to pass to the right of the electricity pylon.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU363159. WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

South of Nursling Station
South of Nursling Station

Looking south from Dairy Lane Bridge, the canal line leaves the railway to pass to the right of the electricity pylon.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU363159.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 31″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

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Canal crosses Weston Lane

Looking north along a section of Weston Lane built in the 1960s. The iron railings indicate a culvert under the road to carry away any water in the remains of the canal.
Image date: May 2016. © 2021 Google. Image from Google Street View. NG Ref: SU363156. WGS84: 50° 56′ 22″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

Canal crosses Weston Lane
Canal crosses Weston Lane

Looking north along a section of Weston Lane built in the 1960s. The iron railings indicate a culvert under the road to carry away any water in the remains of the canal.
Image date: May 2016.
NG Ref: SU363156.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 22″ N, 1° 29′ 04″ W.

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Mill Lane, Nursling

After passing through Nutshalling Lock, the canal passed under Mill Lane.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU362155. WGS84: 50° 56′ 17″ N, 1° 29′ 09″ W.

Mill Lane, Nursling
Mill Lane, Nursling

After passing through Nutshalling Lock, the canal passed under Mill Lane.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU362155.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 17″ N, 1° 29′ 09″ W.

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Nursling to Redbridge Canal Junction

At Mill Lane the Test Way rejoins the canal (it left the line of the canal north of Kimbridge). The path runs along the remains of the original towing path with the overgrown remnants of the canal on the left. The path can be very muddy after wet weather and in one place a wooden boardwalk makes passage a bit easier. On the walker’s right hand is the 350 acre (142 hectare) Lower Test Wildlife Reserve administered by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT).

The canal was constructed along the edge of a river terrace and was only a couple of feet above the neighbouring meadows. For about 180 yards (165m), a section of the canal was cleaned out over 20 years ago by HIWWT (although recently it has become a bit unkempt again).

About 700 yards (640m) from Mill Lane, the line of the canal comes up to the railway again which is on an embankment about 8 feet (2.5m) above the waterway. The path turns to run beside the railway fence for around 250 yards (230m) until it arrives at a level crossing across the railway track. Crossing the railway gives access to Test Lane and the south end of the Nursling Industrial Estate. The Test Way turns right here to cross the floodplain meadows to Totton and Eling.

However, a public footpath continues along the west side of the railway. At this point, the railway parts company from the course of the canal. This continued to follow the edge of a river terrace for about ¼ mile (400m) returning to and crossing the railway to eventually run about ten yards east of it.

The path beside the railway reaches a pedestrian level crossing where the walker will join Test Lane NG Ref: SU369145. WGS84: 50° 55′ 44″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.. Whilst the course of the former canal southward was a little less straight than the railway, their centrelines are never more than 10 yards apart as far as the waterway’s terminus at Redbridge.

Entrance to the towing path

This is the entrance off Mill Lane onto a section of the remains of the canal and towing path alongside part of the Lower Test Valley Nature Reserve.
Image date: 7 Aug 2010. © Chris Wimbush (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU362155. WGS84: 50° 56′ 17″ N, 1° 29′ 10″ W.

Entrance to the towing path
Entrance to the towing path

This is the entrance off Mill Lane onto a section of the remains of the canal and towing path alongside part of the Lower Test Valley Nature Reserve.
Image date: 7 Aug 2010.
NG Ref: SU362155.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 17″ N, 1° 29′ 10″ W.

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Cleaned out canal

Over 20 years ago, about 180 yards (165m) of the canal was cleaned out by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU364153. WGS84: 50° 56′ 10″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

Cleaned out canal
Cleaned out canal

Over 20 years ago, about 180 yards (165m) of the canal was cleaned out by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU364153.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 10″ N, 1° 28′ 59″ W.

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Canal meets the railway again

The railway crosses the old canal on an 8 feet high embankment.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU366151. WGS84: 50° 56′ 05″ N, 1° 28′ 49″ W.

Canal meets the railway again
Canal meets the railway again

The railway crosses the old canal on an 8 feet high embankment.
Image date: 7 Nov 2005.
NG Ref: SU366151.
WGS84: 50° 56′ 05″ N, 1° 28′ 49″ W.

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Level crossing

There was once a bridge over the canal where there is now a railway level crossing which gives access to the nature reserve.
Image date: 13 May 2010. © Alex McGregor (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU368149. WGS84: 50° 55′ 59″ N, 1° 28′ 39″ W.

Level crossing to the nature reserve
Level crossing

There was once a bridge over the canal where there is now a railway level crossing which gives access to the nature reserve.
Image date: 13 May 2010.
NG Ref: SU368149.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 59″ N, 1° 28′ 39″ W.

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Canal diverges from railway

To maintain its route at the bottom of the edge of a river terrace (just right of the tree) and only just above the meadows, the canal and railway separate for about ¼ mile (400m).
Image date: 13 May 2010. © Alex McGregor (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU368149. WGS84: 50° 55′ 58″ N, 1° 28′ 39″ W.

Canal diverges from railway
Canal diverges from railway

To maintain its route at the bottom of the edge of a river terrace and only just above the meadows, the canal and railway separate for about ¼ mile (400m).
Image date: 13 May 2010.
NG Ref: SU368149.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 58″ N, 1° 28′ 39″ W.

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Boardwalk across the canal

As the course of the canal returns to the railway, this boardwalk helps keep feet dry as the footpath crosses the bed.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007. © Jim Champion (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU369146. WGS84: 50° 55′ 47″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

Boardwalk across the canal
Boardwalk across the canal

As the course of the canal returns to the railway, this boardwalk helps keep feet dry as the footpath crosses the bed.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007.
NG Ref: SU369146.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 47″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

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Pedestrian level crossing

The public footpath within the nature reserve ends here and walkers have cross the railway to continue south.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007. © Jim Champion (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU369145. WGS84: 50° 55′ 44″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

Pedestrian level crossing
Pedestrian level crossing

The public footpath within the nature reserve ends here and walkers have cross the railway to continue south.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007.
NG Ref: SU369145.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 44″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

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Railway continues south

Whilst the course of the former canal was a little less straight than the railway, their centre-lines are never more than 10 yards apart as far as the waterway’s terminus.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007. © Jim Champion (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU369145. WGS84: 50° 55′ 44″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

Railway continues south
Railway continues south

Whilst the course of the former canal was a little less straight than the railway, their centre-lines are never more than 10 yards apart as far as the waterway’s terminus.
Image date: 21 Feb 2007.
NG Ref: SU369145.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 44″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

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Redbridge Canal Junction

About 280 yards (250m) from its end, at the northern end of the modern Gover Road, the Southampton Arm of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal joined the Andover Canal having passed under a bridge carrying Test Lane.

The Southampton Arm had a short life. On 8 December 1802 the canal from Redbridge to the west end of the tunnel at Southampton was reported open for barges carrying 25 tons of cargo. It appears that traffic on the Redbridge to Southampton Tunnel section had ceased by the end of 1808.

Near the junction, on the Southampton Arm of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal, there would probably have been some form of stop lock or gate so that in the event of water loss from one of the canals, it would be possible to prevent the other canal also losing water. There would also have been a bridge carrying the towing path on the south side of the Southampton Arm over the Andover Canal whose towing path was on the west bank. These features were probably destroyed when the railway was constructed.

Gover Road

Looking south east along Gover Road, the wide, grassy verge on the right is the course of the Southampton Arm of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2009 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU370140. WGS84: 50° 55′ 28″ N, 1° 28′ 29″ W.

Gover Road
Gover Road

Looking south east along Gover Road, the wide, grassy verge on the right is the course of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU370140.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 28″ N, 1° 28′ 29″ W.

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Junction of Gover Road and Test Lane

Looking north west across the road junction towards the site of the junction of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal with the Andover Canal.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2009 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU369140. WGS84: 50° 55′ 28″ N, 1° 28′ 30″ W.

Junction of Gover Road and Test Lane
Junction of Gover Road and Test Lane

Looking north west across the road junction towards the site of the junction of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal with the Andover Canal.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU369140.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 28″ N, 1° 28′ 30″ W.

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Junctions of roads and canals

Looking south across the road junction, the canals met under the right (west) side of the railway track.
Image date: May 2018. © 2019 Google. Image from Google Street View. NG Ref: SU369140. WGS84: 50° 55′ 29″ N, 1° 28′ 31″ W.

Junctions of roads and canals
Junctions of roads and canals

Looking south across the road junction, the canals met under the right (west) side of the railway track.
Image date: May 2018.
NG Ref: SU369140.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 29″ N, 1° 28′ 31″ W.

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Redbridge and its bridges

Located on the tidal estuary of the River Test, and acting as the terminus of the Andover Canal, Redbridge was a considerable trading post for commodities such as coal, timber and corn. In addition it was a centre for ship building with many merchant and Royal Navy vessels being constructed here in the 18th and 19th centuries. There was a similar depth of water at Redbridge to Southampton so that ships of the time could easily make Redbridge.

When the canal was first proposed in 1770 there was just one bridge spanning the tidal River Test: a bridge thought to have been built in the 17th century replacing a series of earlier bridges which had replaced a ford. The name does not refer to its colour but is derived from “Reed Bridge” after the extensive reed beds just upstream. A further bridge was built in the causeway in 1793 (the year before the canal opened) to give boats making for the canal more headroom than available under the medieval structure. It is known as County Bridge as it was paid for by the county.

Next by date came a fairly low level timber viaduct carrying the Southampton and Dorchester Railway which opened in 1847. This was replaced in 1883 with an iron viaduct just to the south of the original. In 1964 the viaduct was replaced by two shorter bridges with an artificial island between them, more or less on the site of the original viaduct.

On 18 November 1930 Redbridge Road Bridge (A35) was opened to provide an improvement over the medieval bridge which was closed, together with the railway level crossing (known as “Test Gates”), as a through route. The 1930 bridge was augmented by a second westbound carriageway known as Redbridge Viaduct in the 1970s.

Aerial view of the bridges at Redbridge

An aerial view from the south-west of the various bridges across the tidal River Test.
Image date: 2008. Approx NG Ref: SU368132. Approx WGS84: 50° 55′ 02″ N, 1° 28′ 38″ W.

Aerial view of the bridges at Redbridge.
Aerial view of the bridges at Redbridge

An aerial view from the south-west of the various bridges across the tidal River Test.
Image date: 2008.
Approx NG Ref: SU368132.
Approx WGS84: 50° 55′ 02″ N, 1° 28′ 38″ W.

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Old bridges at Redbridge

Seen from upstream at low tide, County Bridge and the medieval Red Bridge.
Image date: Pre-1914. Image from unposted postcard. Approx NG Ref: SU367137. Approx WGS84: 50° 55′ 18″ N, 1° 28′ 43″ W.

Old bridges at Redbridge
Old bridges at Redbridge

Seen from upstream at low tide, County Bridge and the medieval Red Bridge.
Image date: Pre-1914.
Approx NG Ref: SU367137.
Approx WGS84: 50° 55′ 18″ N, 1° 28′ 43″ W.

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The old Redbridge Causeway

A view from County Bridge towards the level crossing known as “Test Gates”. The signal box next to the crossing is partly obscured by the van on the causeway.
Image date: Pre-1914. Image from unposted postcard. NG Ref: SU368136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 16″ N, 1° 28′ 35″ W.

The old Redbridge Causeway
The old Redbridge Causeway

A view from County Bridge towards the level crossing known as “Test Gates”.
Image date: Pre-1914.
NG Ref: SU368136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 16″ N, 1° 28′ 35″ W.

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County Bridge

In 1793 this Grade 2 listed bridge was paid for by the county to enable boats to bypass the medieval bridge and gain access to the Andover Canal.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU368136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 15″ N, 1° 28′ 35″ W.

The 1793 County Bridge
County Bridge

In 1793 this bridge was paid for by the county to enable boats to bypass the medieval bridge.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU368136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 15″ N, 1° 28′ 35″ W.

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The medieval Red Bridge

Until 1930 this bridge was part of the only road crossing of the River Test south of Romsey. It is a listed Grade 2* building and thought to date from the 17th century.
Image date: 1 Jul 2017. © Mike Faherty (cc-by-sa/2.0). Image from www.geograph.org.uk. NG Ref: SU369136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 16″ N, 1° 28′ 30″ W.

The medieval Red Bridge
The medieval Red Bridge

Until 1930 this bridge was part of the only road crossing of the River Test south of Romsey.
Image date: 1 Jul 2017.
NG Ref: SU369136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 16″ N, 1° 28′ 30″ W.

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The waterfront at Redbridge

The entrance lock to the Andover Canal was about 80 yards (75m) upstream of the medieval Red Bridge but is now under the railway line. There was a bridge over the tidal entrance to the lock giving access to the land west of the canal. Until sometime between 1896 and 1907, there used to be a house called Ivy Cottage together with some outbuildings on this land. Also there was a group of buildings labelled ‘Brick Kiln’ on an Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1867 but they disappeared from the map revised in 1896.

Across Test Lane from the medieval Red Bridge is the Anchor Inn (formerly the Anchor Hotel) which is a Grade 2 listed building. The right-hand part dates from the early 18th century, the left-hand side from the early 19th. Built when Redbridge was a shipbuilding village and separate from Southampton, the pub was once a courthouse and is reputed to be haunted from that time.

On its right are 63 and 65 Test Lane which are Grade 2 listed buildings. These were once outbuildings of the hotel and are believed to have been used as warehousing. Before the construction of the railway, tidal water used lap up to Test Lane on both sides of Red Bridge.

Redbridge Wharf is located to the south-east and now on the other side of the Southampton to Bournemouth and Dorchester railway line. Redbridge’s access to the water was severely restricted in 1847 when the London and South Western Railway opened the Southampton to Dorchester railway. The line ran along the waterfront before crossing the Test south of the old Red Bridge.

Redbridge’s maritime connections were further weakened in 1880 when the LSWR acquired Redbridge Wharf and adjacent land in order to construct their Permanent Way Works and the wharf area was extended. Timber for railway sleepers was brought in by boat whilst wooden sleepers were still in use. The works finally closed in 1989. Part of the wharf is now a public park only accessible via the Redbridge Station footbridge.

The entrance to the Andover Canal

The position of the entrance lock of the canal is indicated by the white flowering vegetation. The northbound locomotive is starting to cross the lock’s site.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU369137. WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 31″ W.

The entrance to the Andover Canal
The entrance to the Andover Canal

The position of the entrance lock of the canal is indicated by the white flowering vegetation.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU369137.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 31″ W.

(70.2KB)

The site of Redbridge Lock

Seen from Test Lane, the entrance to the canal from tidal water extended from next to the end of the ivy-clad wall to near the railway’s circular speed limit sign.
Image date: Apr 2015. © 2021 Google. Image from Google Street View. NG Ref: SU370138. WGS84: 50° 55′ 21″ N, 1° 28′ 29″ W.

The site of Redbridge Lock
The site of Redbridge Lock

Seen from Test Lane, the entrance to the canal from tidal water extended from next to the end of the ivy-clad wall to near the railway’s circular speed limit sign.
Image date: Apr 2015.
NG Ref: SU370138.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 21″ N, 1° 28′ 29″ W.

(70.4KB)

The Anchor and adjacent warehouses

Across the site of the level crossing lies the Anchor pub and to the right several buildings that were once used as warehouses. Right again is the 1930 Redbridge Road Bridge now carrying the eastbound A35.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2005 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU369136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

The Anchor and adjacent warehouses
The Anchor and adjacent warehouses

Across the site of the level crossing lies the Anchor pub and to the right several buildings that were once used as warehouses.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU369136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 32″ W.

(58.8KB)

Warehousing in Test Lane

The first two buildings this side of the Anchor were once used as warehousing.
Image date: 10 May 2005. © 2009 Peter Oates. NG Ref: SU370136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 27″ W.

Warehousing in Test Lane
Warehousing in Test Lane

The first two buildings this side of the Anchor were once used as warehousing.
Image date: 10 May 2005.
NG Ref: SU370136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 27″ W.

(45.2KB)

“Test Gates”

This picture was taken at almost the same spot as the previous photograph but about 100 years earlier. Note the signal box on the far side of the level crossing.
Image date: Probably pre-1914. Image from unposted postcard. NG Ref: SU370136. WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 27″ W.

Test Gates
“Test Gates”

This picture was taken at almost the same spot as the previous photograph but about 100 years earlier.
Image date: Probably pre-1914.
NG Ref: SU370136.
WGS84: 50° 55′ 17″ N, 1° 28′ 27″ W.

(56.0KB)