Basingstoke Canal Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
The Saturn Trail is a 9 mile trail along the Basingstoke Canal towpath, in Woking, Surrey.
It’s a largely a straight line trail, and as you’d expect from a canal towpath, flat but with gentle increase in height east to west.
It is secluded and peaceful, passing houseboats, locks and wildlife. To the east it begins at Woodham Junction at the Wey navigation with a footbridge over the Wey. Though that’s not part of the Saturn Trail, this guide includes a short cycle along the Wey towpath, from Byfleet to the south.
That stretch of towpath along the Wey is not tarred, but is wide and generally in good condition – the National Trust, owners of that canal, usually keep vegetation in check. The trail finishes to the west at Sheets Heath just before the Deepcut flight of locks. Do remember that towpaths are shared, and that pedestrians have priority.
The information and photos for this guide was supplied by Andy On A Boat. As ever, all errors are mine alone.
The towpath is surfaced by smooth tar with a fine sandy coloured aggregate surface dressing. Generally 1.2m wide, but there are narrower sections, usually at bridges. Now over 11 years old, the surface has worn well, although it is beginning to erode in places. The trail has been patched in some places, particularly to the western half.
Most types of bikes can use this route. As is the case for most towpath routes, trikes and most cargo bikes will probably not be able to use this route.
Facilities, including public toilets, are available at Woking. A café boat operates at Woking wharf (outside WWF HQ) Tuesday to Sunday. Public toilets are also available at West Byfleet station during ticket office hours. A water tap is available with a CRT watermate key at Bridge Barn Woking.
Points of Interest
The Deepcut locks are quite scenic.
Other Routes in Hampshire
At Scotland Bridge, about a mile from the start, there is a chicane with wooden fencing. It’s wide and does not impede normal cycles, though trikes, cargo bikes, bikes with trailers or tandems will probably struggle.
At the very start there are more metal chicane barriers.
A particular hazard are “Dog Dips” where dogs access the canal causing erosion (see photo) so if pulling over on the water side be on the look out as they can be obscured by vegetation.
Refreshment stops: ⭐⭐⭐
Forecast for the Basingstoke Canal
What it looks like
DayCycle routes are routes can can easily be cycled by most people in a day, or part of a day. Do have a look at all the other DayCycle routes available on WillCycle. Many contain detailed route guides, as well as embedded maps (like the one below) from which you can download the GPX file for the route.