Ash Vale History
Ash Vale is an extension of the settlement of Ash, the origins of which go back to the 7th century. It was held by the monks of Chertsey Abbey until the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537.
The Basingstoke Canal was built through the area in 1794. The stretch of water known as Great Bottom Flash, adjacent to Ash Vale, was probably created at the same time to serve as a reservoir for the canal.
It was the arrival of army, established at Aldershot during the 1850s, which had the greatest influence on the growth of Ash Vale during the Victorian period. Development began at Ash Vale on land between the Blackwater River and the canal, mainly after the opening of the station here in 1870.
Barges were built at Ash Vale in the heyday of the Basingstoke Canal but, by the 1920s, little commercial traffic reached the area and the last barge was repaired here in 1946. By the 1950s the canal had been abandoned and lay derelict. However, it was not long before a band of enthusiasts started the process which finally led to the restoration of the canal. It is now a great recreational asset to the area for pleasure craft, angling and as a haven for wildlife.