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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Newnham / Winchfield and the Basingstoke Canal - June 2013

Having finished off the majority of my blogs recently it was time to catch up with my usual familiar slog of trudging the countryside, looking at a map thinking that one will be an easy find and when getting to the actual area, realising the natural obstacles to overcome.

Once again the prep was done the previous night and in all i aimed to get to 7 pillboxes and the huge line of AT Cylinders on the Basingstoke canal.  The cylinders i had documented from the other side of the canal bank but i don't believe in doing things by half and wanted a closer look! It was an unorthodox approach i took getting there by sliding over a fence over a river.  Needs must though.

I stumbled across an unmapped Type 25 in Withy Bed Copse late last night which was a real bonus.  Not expecting to see anything there - i glanced back into the copse of trees and spotted what i thought might be a tell-tale vertical line in the trees but countless times these turn out to be.......trees.  It was a real bonus as this is only my third Type 25 i have come across.  It is in poor condition but it was still the bonus prize for the explore.

This section of Pillboxes that i will detail below connect the rear of Hook up to the line of defences near Dogmersfield so i am slowly getting to cover and map all the pillboxes and defences in the area.  The area is rich with defensive works which makes it a real pleasure trekking around on a hot sunny day.

Lyde Mill.

Old Basing - Newnham Road


PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0010924

Type 24 pillbox, of variant form. Brick-shuttered. Faces SW. Pillbox overgrown with ivy. Situated next to the River Lyde with a field of fire facing down Newnham Road. Two steps up to avoid flooding and set very high. The internals are very tidy.
It was quite a scramble to get to this pillbox as the nettles were in abundance and almost head height. Sat in a line of trees and obscured from the road.


37 x concrete anti-tank obstacles referred to as 'pimples'. Extend North West from the road at Lyde Mill bridge to the pillbox. They extend along the North bank of the River Lyde and are three ranks deep.   After a little cutting away of the ivy to expose a few of the pimples i could eventually photograph a few of them.  The photograph below shows the proximity to the pillbox.  The whole row of pimples was not visible due to the heavy over and undergrowth but i managed to locate a few.  Sat approx 5 ft apart from each other.

Exposing two pimples.

The row continues towards the bridge.

Back to the pillbox for a little tidy up.

Back onto the bridge and the pillbox is on the right hand side.

PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0012327

Type 24 pillbox; brick-shuttered. Two embrasure shutters in situ. Sat just off the B3016 Odiham Road on the left as if heading into Winchfield. South West field of fire down Odiham Road.


Heading slightly up the B3016 heading towards Winchfield and in the Copse of trees on the right hand side of the road. Set right back from the road and giving a southern field of fire. Sat in the south western corner of Withy Bed Copse.

Heavily overgrown.

Type 25 pillbox sat on the southern leading edge of Withy Bed copse.  Sat between the two Type 22 pillboxes and an unexpected find.  As you can see the external shuttering is in bad condition but at least it still exists.  The pillbox is flooded internally almost up to the crawl space entrance and it was a mosquito fest in there.  The wooden battening for the embrasures and entrance are in bad condition.  

A view of the entrance.  Having crawled into a couple of Type 25's the entrance is not easy to get in or out of.  That is without any form of combat situation!  

Very fragile shuttering.

The flooded interior.


Located at the far corner of Withy Bed Copse and having a South Easterly field of fire. Easily accessible.  Overgrown on the eastern face of the pillbox.

Am old sewage plant in Withy Bed Copse.

The usual fun of dodging the cows when crossing fields.  

PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0011159

Despite Checking all the hedgerows in the area of Winchfield Court i could not locate this pillbox. It could possibly have been removed but this will need further investigation.  No indication of a location on GE throws up a possible location.  The fields were fallow so i had a real good look around.  There is a large copse of trees behind the fields so it could possibly be located in there.

PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0007884

RAF Odiham. Pillbox - type 24 variant. Stair (external) to roof, with AA gun mounting. Three of the five embrasures are bricked up. Very heavily overgrown and impossible to access.  Faces South South West.  


Pillbox of variant form. Brick-shuttered. 2 x LMG embrasures. Pillbox - unclassified. '7.12.41. scratched onto the door lintel [inscription]. Three steps down to the interior.

PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0007412

At the South Western edge of Leeches Copse, on land of Bowenhurst golf course. Brick-shuttered type 24 pillbox with small stepped embrasures. Asbestos shutters to the embrasures are still in position and swing on their hinges. Overgrown. Faces West. This pillbox would be in excellent condition if its overgrowth was removed. It stands close to the junction of the anti-tank ditches of two stop lines.

The entrance is to the right.

Note the leading edge of the AT Ditch.  This has been in-filled.


PILLBOX (TYPE FW3/24): S0006768

At the SW edge of Five Acre Copse, now on land of Bowenhurst golf course. Type 24 pillbox, with wood / asbestos / concrete shutters. Pillbox - type 24. Y-shaped internal blast wall. Low doorway (3ft 3ins). This pillbox was not observed during the initial field work. Very very difficult to find and i spent ages walking around the golf course in the early part of the morning. It is located behind the small pond and sat between where the golfers would tee off. I'd almost given up finding it as i had wandered around aimlessly for ages. It was only when i thought i would check deep into the trees next to the pond that i located it.  The AR wall has been partially destroyed and the shelving for all the embrasures have been knocked down.  

After a little tidy up to expose the embrasure on the North Western Face of the pillbox.

All the embrasure shutters are in place.

Smashed shelving.

Smashed AR wall.

Southern Facing Embrasure after a little chopping back.



Crossing North East area of Coxmoor Wood. Line of concrete blocks running through woodland from the end of the anti-tank ditch to the South bank of the Basingstoke Canal. Double row of concrete anti-tank cylinders - 750 cylinders for 500 yards of the GHQ Line. Anti-tank concrete cylinders made from pre-cast drainage pipes filled with concrete although some were never filled and remain empty. 180 cylinders, 2ft apart, in a line from the canal through Coxmoor wood. Chamfered top. Three feet away to the West is a second line, uncompleted, consisiting of a further 180 empty cylinders. At least six anti-tank cylinders (5ft high x 3ft diameter) in a row, set close together, observed from the north bank of the Basingstoke Canal. These are at the North end of the line running through Coxmoor Wood.

This is what i had been after since last year.  I had photographed the end of the run at the Basingstoke Canal and natural curiosity got the better of me.  Located behind the Electrical Sub Station in Coxmoor Wood and sat between a Bee Farm it was going to prove and interesting trip through the woods to get to these.   At one point i actually stumbled on the beehives so it was a quick about turn.  Thankfully i had my secateurs with me and could cut away at the branches but it was extremely hot and hard work.


The beginning of the line heading off towards Coxmoor Farm.

Just in front of the line is where the preparation for the foundations for a second row was made.

The partially complete second row of cylinders heading towards the canal.

Finally at the Canal.

Hawser Cable in situ.

The opposite bank which i detailed in a previous report.  There used to be a bridge crossing on the far left have side but this has been removed.

It was great being back out there again.  Slowly but slowly completing the area.  There are still a few to get in the area i detailed but next time i shall attempt to get to them.

Thanks for reading this report.