Section 3 – Shawfields to Hollybush Pits

Here you'll find directions for section 3 of the Blackwater Valley Path.

Distance: 2 miles

1 Cross the aqueduct

  • On reaching the Basingstoke Canal Aqueduct, pass underneath the canal and turn left up the ramps to access the towpath
  • On the aqueduct, turn left, crossing over the Blackwater Valley Relief Road

This raised section of canal has few overhanging trees. The consequence is a rich variety of aquatic plants which, in turn, support a wide variety of animal life.

The aqueduct has elegant but hidden engineering, being supported by steel ropes in a tensioned spiral contained within the towpaths.

Notice the earth mound on the island beside the river in Gold Valley Lakes. This is a purpose built bat roost, one of the largest in Britain. A solar panel on the side absorbs heat and creates high temperatures in the upper chamber of the roost.

Lakeside Park is an excellent site for wildlife, especially water plants and insects. In the summer, look for dragonflies around the shallow ponds beside the path – over 20 species have been found.

2 An avenue of lakes

  • Pass through an avenue of lakes
  • Turn left just after the lake on your left
  • Rejoin the river

3 Avoid the road

  • Follow the path across a board walk footbridge and under the railway
  • Cross Lakeside Road with caution
  • Head slightly left, through metal barriers to rejoin the path

4 Hollybush Park

  • The path slopes left back to the riverbank
  • Alternatively, continue straight ahead and join an unmade path through Hollybush Park. Exit in the left corner of the field down to the bridge

The park is on the site of an old rubblish dump. Many trees have now been planted and a new woodland is being established.

5 Follow the river

  • Cross the bridge and continue to follow the river

Hollybush Hill was a rubbish dump until 1980. It is now a good example of a created flower-rich grassland. You can find orchids and many other colourful flowers. In turn, these support a wide variety of butterflies that appreciate the warmth of the south-facing slope. The top of the hill provides a good view point.

Aldershot Military Town can be accessed from Hollybush Hill by continuing over the hill and crossing the road footbridge. This path leads into the woodlands at the back of Ramillies Park.

Station link: to North Camp