Itchen Navigation: Description
Shawford - College Mead

Distance: 1.1 mile

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At Shawford Bridge the towing path swaps to the west bank of the Navigation. Here the waterway passes through a more built up part of the village although this is relative. A number of houses in Park View lie on the west of the Navigation between the towpath and the railway. Indeed, the towing path is their only means of access to the outside world. To the east of the waterway, lie the grounds of Shawford House.

One hundred yards south of the bridge can be found the remains of Shawford Single Gates in amongst some trees. This structure was effectively half of a lock - much of the brickwork remains and the narrowing of the waterway shows its position. Until recently, a weir had been inserted in place of the gates but at the time of writing this was no longer in evidence. It has been suggested that the structure's original purpose was to retain a head of water for Shawford Mill which lies just upstream of Shawford Bridge.

Passing south, the houses are soon left behind with a narrow paddock lying between the Navigation and the railway. The footpath generally follows the Navigation fairly closely. The waterway is rather secretive being partially hidden by trees and bushes growing along the bank. Gradually, the waterway draws nearer the railway until the footpath beside the Navigation reaches the private road at the foot of the embankment. Shortly, the canal and railway diverge again and it is possible to see the towing path cut into the gentle slope of the hill against which the waterway is built. From documentary evidence, it would appear that this section of the Navigation was built in the first decade of the 18th Century.

At the next bridge, by the buildings of Malms Farm, the public right of way crosses the Navigation by a replacement of the original wooden bridge. This path follows the 'offside' bank almost as far as Malm Lock whence it leaves the waterway. Originally the towing path did not cross over but stayed on the west bank. Until a few years ago, the next part of the Navigation was overlooked by the imposing, if rather gaunt, Malms House which belonged to Winchester solicitor Alfred Bowker who was mayor of the city at the end of the 19th century. The house was demolished in about 2002. It has been replaced by a large block of apartments which, although partially screened by trees, does not sit comfortably with its surroundings.

A few yards before reaching Malm Lock, the public footpath leaves the Navigation. It crosses the adjacent field for about 50 yards and then follows a track southwards, reaching College Mead before rejoining the canal. Malm Lock is barred from public access but is interesting in that the weir at the top of the lock, although fixed, has been built in the position and shape of the original top gates. Early in 2003, a breach in the bank of the Navigation just above the lock led to flooding of the fields to the east and a lowering of water levels as far upstream as Shawford. The breach had been repaired by the middle of April 2003.

Send your comments to the Southampton Canal Society Web Site manager (Peter Oates).

Text © Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2010.
Pictures © Peter Oates 2003 - 2010. Pictures on or accessed through this page may not be reproduced without the express permission of the Web Site manager.

Original page covering Shawford to Brambridge created 11 June 1999 - split into two pages 26 April 2003 - picture gallery created 24 April 2003 - description and pictures combined and expanded with new layout 22 January 2010 - content updated 22 January 2010.

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