Walk 302 - Odiham, Greywell and Mapledurwell
On Sunday 15th October, four of us met at the Deer Park View car park, off Odiham High Street, for a walk that replaced one which had been cancelled at short notice.
We started off across fields to join a short stretch of the Basingstoke Canal before heading away again towards Greywell Moors. This is an interesting area managed by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and is known for rare wildflowers, although unfortunately this was not the time of year to see any of them!
After crossing the River Whitewater via a small bridge, we continued past Greywell Church and then followed the river along a boardwalk before arriving at Greywell Mill. This is now a private house but the disused waterwheel can still be seen from the path.
We then followed tracks beside fields and a gentle ascent to reach Five Lanes end with good views of the surrounding countryside. Our lunch stop was by Mapledurwell village pond. After lunch, the next point of interest was Little Tunnel Bridge, a grade 2 listed structure through which the canal once flowed.
The footpath goes over the top of this but there is a vantage point from which the eastern side of the bridge can be seen. A short road section took us past an alpaca farm and to the point where the Basingstoke Canal now ends. The path then followed the canal through woodland - after a dry few months much of it was reduced to mud but this will probably refill over the winter.
We then arrived at the western portal of the Greywell Tunnel. Most of this has collapsed but it is possible to look into the bore of the tunnel through a safety cage. A small boat could be seen in the water at the entrance which is probably used to check the condition of the tunnel and the bat roost for which the tunnel is now well known.
We continued over Greywell Hill to return to Greywell Village and our pub stop at the 16th Century Fox and Goose Inn. This is very close to the eastern entrance to the Greywell Tunnel which, in contrast to the western entrance, is still intact. Soon after the tunnel, the towpath goes past the ruins of Odiham Castle where we stopped to look and find out about its history from the information boards.
We took a route back to Odiham leading to the church, where we saw the village stocks (dating from the 14th century) which are on display at the front. A short walk along the High Street took us back to our starting point.
Many thanks to Denise for leading this walk at such short notice and for writing it up.