For the first time in the Show’s history, the Show will incorporate a boating spectacle along the adjacent Basingstoke Canal. This will be coordinated by the Basingstoke Canal Society as part of the delayed celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Canal’s re-opening in 1991. A Boat Rally including 20-30 narrow boats and various canal boats is planned along with an exciting display from the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club. There will also be a display of archive photographs from the working canal and the canal restoration as well as other family friendly activities.
About the Basingstoke Canal Society
The Canal Society was formed over 50 years ago when a group of waterway enthusiasts had witnessed the gradual deterioration of the Basingstoke Canal. In order to secure the future of the canal Surrey and Hampshire County Councils took over the canal and worked with the society to undertake the task. Restoration of 29 locks, dredging 32 miles, rebuilding numerous weirs, bridges and culverts and improving access took about 20 years. The canal was officially re-opened on 10th May 1991, by HRH the Duke of Kent at a spectacular event at Frimley Lodge Park. Owing to the pandemic it was not possible to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of that event in 2021.
The role of the Basingstoke Canal Society today is to help keep the canal in good condition (providing volunteer support for the Basingstoke Canal Authority), to improve its facilities and promote its value as a source of recreation and quiet enjoyment for local communities. Recent years have proven that health, well-being and protecting our valuable environment, flora and fauna are important factors in everyone’s lives. The Basingstoke Canal is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) as well as a navigable inland waterway that attracts boating enthusiasts from all over the country.
The BCS run two trip boats, Kitty from Woking and John Pinkerton from Odiham, which provide a lot of enjoyment to the public. We recognise that the inland waterways need to play their part in reducing carbon emissions, so we are raising funds to replace Kitty with an electric boat, and install charging points along the canal.