Aldershot has been an important military town since 1854. Due this military connection, there is a large Gurkhas community which has made its imprint on the town. Although, Nepal is not a commonwealth country, the Gurkhas have fought under the Union flag since 1815. There are several South Asian restaurants, in the town centre and the elders sometimes meet up at the Princes Garden. There’s also a stunning Buddhist Community Centre located on High Street. It was established in 2007. Aldershot is 32 miles south west of central London and easily accessible via the motorway or public transport. Our visit was primarily to see the Ash Aqueduct. However, we spent a few hours exploring the vicinity. Here are our highlights from our four hours in Aldershot
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Exploring Local Gems
Summer 2020 was all about exploring the local hidden gems in our neighbourhood. We stayed close to home and savoured the joys of the outdoors fostering a holiday vibe. Our most recent adventure took us to Aldershot. We walked along the Ash Aqueduct; the minor waterway that flows over A331 dual carriageway to Blackwater Valley. Not far from the aqueduct is the Lakeside Nature Reserves which is a beautiful green space. It’s home to Mute Swans and Cygnets, Grass Snakes, Blue Damsels and Pipistrelle Bats. We brought our day to a close with a slap up Eat Out To Help Out dinner at Nandos in the town centre.
The engineering marvel was the result of creating a relief road to ease traffic congestion on roads near to the Blackwater Valley. ‘The line of the Basingstoke Canal was crossed by this planned road. After the restoration of this section of the canal in the early 1980s, a crossing of the road by the waterway was needed.’ Construction of the Ash Aqueduct was completed in June of 1995.
Getting to the Aqueduct
We drove to the Ash Centre, Aldershot which is just under 1 hour away from our home. Once we had parked on Vale Road, we crossed the roundabout followed the river walk which ran along the back of the Cooperative Funeral centre. The walk was roughly 10 minutes. We caught glimpses of Lakeside Nature Reserve on the right and Bulrush lined canal on the left. Eventually the vista opened up to the aqueduct, which we crossed using the footpath.
Apparently, the aqueduct is 1.3 metres in depth and it is waterway that is traversed by canoeists and paddle boarders. I think I would be quite exciting to do that.
Lakeside Nature Reserve Play Area
After filming the view from the aqueduct, we retraced some of our steps and took signed path down to Lakeside Nature Reserve Play Area. Following the tarmac path, skirting the woodland on the right. Eventually, the tarmac turned into an earthy floor split into three (if I remember correctly. We took the path farthest right. There is a car park; nearest post code Lakeside Road, GU12 5AN
The adventure play area has usual a seesaw, climbing wall, merry-go-round and zip wire and backs onto a lake were anglers fish. They probably have a special permit the fishing. We simply were fascinated to observe the mini beasts at play. We spotted dragonflies, pond skater, grasshoppers and the like and vowed to visit again in the autumn.
Aldershot Town Centre
For an early dinner we drove into the town centre which has the pretty ornamental garden, the Princes Garden. The town centre itself could do with some regeneration. The local Nandos is located in Westgate Retail and Leisure Park, which as other eateries and a cinema. I have to say, the Nando was definitely benefited from the South Asian influence it chicken was well seasoned and tasted so yum!
Overall our day trip to Aldershot was a success! The Lakeside Nature Reserve and the aqueduct was the highlight for us. It’s an exciting spot to take little explorers.
How have you spent your summer break? What hidden gems did you explore. Please comment below.