Canoe Days Out

Hampshire - Basingstoke Canal - Winchfield Hurst to Odiham Castle (& return)

This page was submitted by Keith Day (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Winchfield Hurst is in north Hampshire, about 3 miles south of Harley Wintney. From junction 5 of the M3 head north towards Hook. Turn right onto the A30 for 5 miles to Hartley Wintney and turn right onto A323 (signposted for Fleet) for about 2 miles. Immediately after passing under the motorway turn right into Pale Lane.

The Barley Mow pub is at the far end of this lane. Go straight over the crossroads into Spratts Hatch Lane. The canal carpark is immediately on the left.

For those with SatNav the postcode of the Barley Mow is RG27 8DE.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - Canoes can easily be launched over the bank but there is a slipway for larger craft

General Description - This part of the canal is delightfully rural with just a very few canalside properties. At Odiham there is a wharf with picnic tables and a small hire boat yard with narrow boats, rowing boats and canoes. There is a canalside pub here (the Waterwitch). A mile or so further on you will have to limbo under a lift bridge. Shortly King Johns castle will be on the right and a hundred yards further is the current end of navigation. The last half mile to Graywell Tunnel is now a nature reserve which you can walk if you wish.

The canal is famous for it's distinctive arch bridges all built in 1792 but there is a swing bridge near the western end. King John's castle is a few hundred yards beyond this.

In summer this stretch of canal is full of attractive dragon-flies.

Comments on this trip

JS Kayaker
08 Mar 2019
Went for a paddle early last Sunday just a couple of miles in the Odiham direction then back. The details for the car park says that it opens at 800 but it was already open by 7 when I got there and various dog walkers turned up as I was parking so I suspect it may be open early most of the time. Very pleasant paddle couple of friendly fishermen and usual water birds and dog walkers / runners on the towpath.The launch site is fine I put in my inflatable Sea Eagle at the slipway and was able to climb in without wet feet. I'll be returning for a longer paddle soon.

06 Feb 2013
The Swan is now closed so if you want a pub it's the Waterwitch!

Wonder Woman
09 Sep 2009
Thanks for introducing me to the canal. Only done a couple of small trips - hour out and hour back but can't think of a better way to spend the afternoon! Apart from the grumpy swan and a couple of even grumpier fishermen at the start we were the only ones on the water for the rest of the trip! Bliss.

Mal Grey
26 Aug 2008
Thanks for introducing me to a great section of canal! I only did the first couple of miles on an evening when summer seemed to have finally arrived, then turned round & pootled back. Lovely part of the canal, particularly where it bends tightly round below the fields just after the start then passes a ridiculously "English" scene of a thatched cottage & lovely garden.

Jackie Austin
08 Nov 2007
Took lunch in the Barley Mow this week. Fantastic food, wonderful welcome even with a very wet dog! Pub looks great will be back on my next walk past.

28 Aug 2007
The Barley Mow is under new management and has now reopened

17 Mar 2007
Unfortunately the Barley Mow is currently closed so if you were planning a beer here you need another plan

08 Aug 2006
It's 4 miles from the Barley Mow to Odiham castle so 8 miles for the round trip.

Steve Fox
08 Aug 2006
What sort of distance are we looking at on this paddle?


Odiham Castle
Basingstoke Canal
Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club
Blogg on songofthepaddle
The Waterwitch

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson