Having a dog is a great way to investigate a city you thought you knew well. Looking for new and interesting walks for The Hound has certainly lead me to discover parts of Portsmouth which I didn’t know existed.
Having driven past it on the Eastern Road when travelling into Portsmouth, I decided to park up and investigate the waterfront area of Langstone Harbour on the edge of the city. At the same time, I had discovered the detective novels of author Graham Hurley with his fictional hero, DI Joe Faraday – and it is in this area, that most of the action takes place. Indeed, his main character, Faraday, is supposed to have lived at the Bargemaster’s House which in reality, is Beach Lodge (below) which is on the route!
What’s all this about a canal then, you may ask – well when you do this walk, you can see what is left of the canal system. It was originally designed to transport large amounts of goods safely between London and the south coast ports – the open sea being too close to the marauding French on the English Channel with whom – of course – we were at war. What you can view today are the remains of the sea locks at Milton which allowed access from the canal to Langstone Harbour when the tide was high.
Other reminders of what was once there? Well the street names – Canal Walk in Fratton, Locksway Road and Towpath Mead in Milton – and of course, Arundel Street in the heart of the city.
The system quickly fell out of use as the canal water unfortunately contaminated the city’s drinking water so some of the canal was filled in, part of the canal bed was used to lay the railway system whilst another part became Goldsmith Avenue.
It’s a one-pawprint walk from The Hound’s point of view as for much of it, he has to be on a lead but it gets a tail-wag for the sniff factor however – very interesting smells to investigate!
Contributor and photographer: Sue Lowry
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