Southampton & Salisbury Canal

Maps of the canal

This page gives access to a number of maps showing the course of the canal. Each map will appear in a separate pop-up window (or a new tab) so that you may view them while accessing other parts of the site.

Milne’s Map of Hampshire 1791

Thomas Milne surveyed a One Inch map of Hampshire during the years 1788-1790 and this was published by William Faden in 1791. This map included two insets covering Winchester and Southampton at a larger scale. This is the Southampton inset (214KB).

This map shows a line for the canal although in 1791 the choice of route was still under discussion. It shows the position of a lock immediately inland of God’s House Tower and the line of the canal running north along the Town Ditches. However, once it reaches Houndwell, it turns westward and enters a tunnel some 250 yards long under Above Bar about 100 yards north of the Bargate. Upon nearing the then shore of the River Test, the canal is shown running northward and parallel with the shoreline until, approaching Four Posts Hill, it turns inland to run up the small valley between Hill Lane and The Polygon. At this point the line is labelled “Canal from Redbridge”.

However, this was not the route that was adopted to the north of the town walls when construction started in 1795. Nor is there any indication of any branch to Northam - a destination which was one of the main motivations for tunnelling under the hill on which Southampton stands. One wonders whether the route shown on this map was one that was proposed around 1790 but was dropped later on, or whether Milne misunderstood an explanation of the route, or even that it was a figment of Milne’s imagination.

Southampton & Salisbury Canal Company

In 1794 Joseph Hill produced this plan of the proposed canal (144KB) and it was printed for subscribers to shares in the canal.

Ordnance Survey

The whole of the canal is shown on this site in the two series of 7 maps as listed below:

Part of canal covered Modern
1:50 000 Map
Old Series

Southampton Arm

Southampton to Millbrook and Northam Map 1
Map 1
Millbrook to Redbridge Map 2
Map 2

Salisbury Arm

Kimbridge Junction to Lockerley Map 3
Map 3
Lockerley to West Dean Map 4
Map 4
West Dean to East Grimstead Map 5
Map 5
East Grimstead to Alderbury Map 6
Map 6
Alderbury to Salisbury Map 7
Map 7

Ordnance Survey field drawings

The surveys for each of the ‘Old Series’ One Inch maps were collated by the surveyors onto preliminary drawings on paper at a scale of two inches to the mile using pen and ink. It was from these that the copper printing plates were engraved by hand at One Inch scale.

These drawings were working documents, now over 200 years old, and in places are a bit the worse for wear. The British Library holds these documents and the links below provide access to images of the drawings covering the Southampton & Salisbury and Andover Canals.

Copies of these maps are available on Wikimedia Commons as normal image files albeit quite large. These files are licensed under the National Archives: Open Government Licence version 1.0 (OGL v1.0).

Links to sections of OS field drawings covering the canal
Extent of canal Link to drawing File size
Southampton Arm and Andover Canal from Redbridge to Stockbridge 5.12 MB
Salisbury Arm (also duplicates the Andover Canal south of Stockbridge) 4.74 MB
Andover Canal north of Stockbridge 4.41 MB

Ordnance Survey large scale mapping

Historical Ordnance Survey large scale mapping at the scales of 6 inches and 25 inches to one mile has covered the area of the canal since 1865-75. Although this mapping dates from after the abandonment of the canal and the coming of the railways, much of the course of the canal can be traced on these maps. Local archive offices usually hold copies of these maps. There are also a number of places where it is possible to view these maps online. More information can be found on the Further Resources page.

LIDAR data

One source that has not been available to previous explorers of the canal is LIDAR data which is publicly available on the internet (for free) from the Environment Agency. LIDAR uses a laser to scan and map the landscape from an aircraft and is widely considered to be the best method for collecting very dense and accurate elevation data across the landscape. More about this data can be found on the Further resources page.