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Odiham Castle by Robin and June

Location: N 51 15.695 W 000 57.726 Difficulty: 2 Terrain: 1

Odiham Castle is better known by the locals as "King John's Castle". This is the same King John who signed Magna Carta way back in 1215. I believe it was used as an overnight lodge, during Royal hunting trips from Windsor Castle The existance of this magical place is not widely known - probably because it is well hidden in trees, and cannot be seen from any road. To reach it you must walk along this lovely stretch of the old Basingstoke Canal.

You should have no problem finding the Geocache: just go straight to the spot and look for it, cradled low in an ivy covered tree, near the moat. Please make sure it is well covered by something natural looking.

We reccomend that you start at "The Fox and Goose" at Greywell at location N 51 15.439 W 000 58.335. To find the small village of Greywell, take the Odiham and Fleet turn-off at junction 4 of the M3, and follow signs for Greywell. If you miss the first one, on the right, take the Odiham (3rd) exit off the next roundabout (after the Odiham bypass), carry on past the Petrol station on left and Swan Pub on right, over the canal hump bridge, and take the sign (right) for Greywell at the next roundabout. You will need to take a right off this road, some way out of North Warnborough, for the road to Greywell. At the T junction you will find "The Fox and Goose" to your left.
They have parking and a large play area and beer garden at the rear. They usually have a Guy Fawkes bonfire and fireworks each year near 5th November - following much more recent English history, dating from 1605 :-) Go back a few yards down the road to Odiham, and take the footpath signed to the canal.

You will find yourself walking over the end of the canal, where it enters the Greywell Tunnel.
This is no longer navigable, having collapsed years ago. However, Robin's friend Trevor said that, as a boy, he paddled the whole length on his own, from the Basigstoke end, in a canoe made from a stolen aircraft fuel tank :-) There is a sign near the edge of the canal, giving more details. This tunnel is now barred up, for safety, and is Europe's largest bat sanctuary. In fact, I understand there is now a running battle between the bat lovers, who want to keep it that way, and the Basingstoke Canal enthusiasts, who want to repair the tunnel and make it navigable again.

Further along the tow-path, on the north bank, taking you eastward, you will reach a spot, marked by bouys, where boats are encouraged to turn round - to avoid grounding on the shallow last few hundred yards of canal before the tunnel. This is also where the canal widens to a pool, enabling the larger boats to turn, and where the Whitewater river runs under the canal - yes - under it :-)

Not much further along, and you will come across King John's Castle.
An alternative approach is along the canal from "The Water Witch" Public House, at N 51 15.529 W 000 55.925. On this stretch, between the castle and The Water Witch, you will find a "windy-uppy" bridge. The bridge is at N 51 15.606 W 000 57.434 and a few minutes north up this lane is a ford, which is a nice spot to visit at N 51 15.712 W 000 57.506.

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