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King John’s Castle, Basingstoke Canal

Accessible to all craft kept on the connected inland waterways

Silver Propeller Challenge



Visit King John’s Castle at Odiham on the Basingstoke Canal by boat or canoe.

It has been chosen as a Silver Propeller Location as it is a under-used waterway. A photo of your boat in proximity to the castle remains would be a good proof of your visit. Licenses for visiting boats are obtained from the Basingstoke Canal Authority.

Complete our challenge by visiting 20 locations from our list, you will receive our exclusive plaque and goody bag.


The Basingstoke Canal has had a chequered history. First surveyed in 1769, the planned route followed the contour around Greywell Hill into Basingstoke.  After objections by local landowners the route that was finally built was 7 miles shorter but included Greywell Tunnel.  Opened in 1794, the canal was never successful, ceasing to be viable around 1866 when no dividends were paid to shareholders and the company was bankrupt.  The canal subsequently managed to survive with a succession of speculative owners, three of whom ended up in prison, until the Army took over at the beginning of WW1.  The last army traffic was aircraft parts from Aldershot in 1921.

Restoration commenced in 1973 when the canal was purchased in a derelict state by Hampshire and Surrey county councils.  Many innovative techniques were used by the volunteer restoration team including a narrow gauge railway and the steam dredger Perseverance.  The canal was officially re-opened in 1991.  Greywell Tunnel has suffered a collapse and is home to a colony of bats so the final 5 miles to the original terminus in Basingstoke are still derelict.

From the junction with the River Wey Navigation at Woodham near Byfleet, the canal is currently navigable to King John’s Castle, Odiham, shortly before Greywell Tunnel. This covers a distance of 32.1 miles (50.2 km) with 29 locks.  The castle was built for King John in 1207-14 and it was from here that he set out to Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.

[The photo shows moorings at North Warnborough, adjacent Odiaham Castle  –  Chris Talbot © cc-by-sa/2.0 ]

Notes for Visitors


Postcode: RG29 1BS

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Boat Dimensions

The maximum size of boat that can navigate the Basingstoke Canal is:

  • length: 72′ (21.9m)
  • beam: 13′ 6″ (4.1m)
  • height: 5′ 10″ (1.7m)
  • draught: 3′ 0″ (0.9m)

Licenses for visiting boats, canoes and paddle-boards should be obtained from the Basingstoke Canal Authority.


Canoeing, Hire boats and Trip boats

Canoes are welcome on the Basingstoke Canal, but you will need a Basingstoke Canal Authority licence or British Canoeing membership.

You can hire canoes, kayaks, rowing boats and an electric day boat from Galleon Marine.  There is also a slipway here, from which you can launch your own trail boat.

Basingstoke Canal Society’s 50-seater trip boat John Pinkerton II operates from nearby Colt Hill Wharf

There also trips to the castle by Galleon Marine’s trip boat Juniper.

Challenge Location

King John’s Castle

Basingstoke Canal

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