Two routes on the upper reaches of the Basingstoke canal
Fleet was originally heathland in the northern part of the Crondall Hundred, its name having probably been derived from the Norman French word La Flete meaning a stream or shallow water – a reference to the Fleet Pond from which fish had been taken for the monks in Winchester in Medieval times.
The picture shows Crookham wharf from Chequers Bridge. The Basingstoke Canal presents a relief from the vagaries of the Thames and the tour is suitable for all comers. Novices should probably opt for the shorter of the distances unless pairing-up with a more experienced paddler. On these routes there are no locks to portage. The last lock on the canal is Ash lock near the Black water aquaduct, some 15 miles from Greywell where the canal currently finishes. (Of course at one time it went all the way to Basingstoke)
Route 1 : The Barley Mow (G27 8DE tel. 01252 617490) to Pondtail Old Bridge Fleet and return – 12 miles. On reaching The Barley Mow go across main road into Spratt’s Hatch Lane then immediately left into the public car park from which there is easy access to the Basingstoke Canal
Route 2: Crookham Wharf (The Exchequer Pub, Crondall Rd, Fleet, Hampshire GU51 5SU) to Pondtail Old Bridge Fleet and return – 7 miles. Pass the pub on your left and turn into the car park with picnic site on your right. Easy access to the Basingstoke Canal.
Take the M3 south and exit at Jn 4a for Fleet. Put the postcodes above in your Sat-Nav as there are many country lanes to navigate – allow about 40mins from Hampton.