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Welcome to this site about waterways in the Hampshire area. You should find information about many of the rivers and canals that are, or have been, navigable in the county and surrounding areas. I hope that you will find these pages interesting and maybe lead you to have a look at some of Hampshire’s varied waterways for yourself.

This website was originally set up by the Southampton Canal Society in January 1999. The Society was established in June 1967 but after the pandemic and with a declining and ageing membership, the members voted to dissolve the Society on 31st March 2022. Further details can be found on this page about the Society.

This website will continue as a resource about waterways in Hampshire and surrounding areas. Rather than remove the Canal Society’s website from the internet and lose much of the information it contains, especially about local waterways, it was renamed and partially amended and expanded. The web address (https://sotoncs.org.uk/) was not altered.

The Andover Canal near Romsey
Andover Canal, Romsey
April 2021
The Itchen Navigation in Winchester
Itchen Navigation, Winchester
15 February 2019

I had hoped that this makeover would take place soon after the demise of the Canal Society. There were a couple of upgrades to the site that were in hand at that time. But, I had underestimated the work involved in finishing these and then updating and converting over 110 existing pages with the new name. It was not just a case of altering the title at the top of each page. In addition, there are well over 1200 different images to keep track of. But one of these upgrades still needed further research and rather than delaying any longer, I decided to go ahead and publish what I could in April 2023.

Basingstoke Canal near North Warnborough
Ex-working narrow boat on Basingstoke Canal
North Warnborough, 13 August 2016
Dragon boats on Chichester Canal
Dragon boats racing near the basin on the
Chichester Canal

The last major upgrade of the Canal Society’s website was a complete revision and expansion of the part dealing with the Andover Canal which went on-line in July 2021. The waterway was closed in 1859 in order to use much its course to build a railway between Andover and Redbridge near Southampton. Around one third of the canal escaped conversion and several parts of this still contain water from time to time. Details of the construction and usage of the canal are sparse but this part of the website is an attempt to let the reader at least identify where the canal once ran and what remains can be found.

The River Avon near Breamore
River Avon from Castle Hill near Breamore
31 December 2004
Southampton and Salisbury Canal
Site of the Southampton & Salisbury Canal
West Dean. 12 January 2005

At the same time as working on the Andover Canal, the section of the website dealing with the Southampton & Salisbury Canal was also undergoing a major overhaul. Construction of the canal started at the end of 1795 but construction seems to have ceased in 1804 short of Salisbury by several miles. I continued work on this and it was published with the rebranding of this website. I believe that I have able to add new information about the waterway. See the Introduction on this page.

I've also been rewriting and greatly expanding the page on the Hampshire Avon. Construction of this river navigation from Salisbury to Christchurch was started in 1675 and seems to have been completed after a fashion by 1685. Further works were undertaken in the 1690s but it appears that by 1715 the navigation was no longer used. The existing page has been retained for the time being despite some anomolies. Some further research is required but hopefully it should appear later this year (2024). The original page can be found here.

Itchen Navigation at Brambridge
Itchen Navigation at Brambridge
24 January 2021
Chichester Canal
Poyntz Swing Bridge on the
Chichester Canal.

I have also been expanding the page about the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal, which includes the Chichester Canal, and should be ready within a few months.

I have not been completely idle and this year I have added 40 pictures to the various pages on the Itchen Navigation and a page giving access to a survey of the Navigation completed in 1976. I have also updated the book lists on each of the waterways on this site to include pictures of the front covers.

I hope that you find this website interesting and informative. After all these changes, there are bound to be a few ‘typos’ and even bits, such as links, that don’t work properly or images not displaying correctly. I would greatly appreciate you sending an email to tell me of any you find. The ‘Feedback’ link at the bottom of most pages on this site will point you in the right direction. Thank you for your help.

Peter Oates, web site manager