The Eel House, located on the Wayfarer's Path, off The Dean, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9BE
Don’t miss the chance to learn about our culinary history & see this unique ‘eel house’, restored by a local team, under the authority of the Town Trust, comprises of three Town Trustees and two members of The Alresford Society plus the owner of the building and the landowner.
The Eel House sits beside the Wayfarers' Way footpath in idyllic woodland in a valley about a mile and a half from the centre of the charming small market town of Alresford. Built in the 1820s to trap eels for the family at Arlebury Park House, it also supplied eels to London’s Billingsgate Market.
On dark moonless nights every Autumn eels set off from the tributaries of Old Alresford Pond, travelling with the prevailing current down the Alre to the River Itchen, into the English Channel and then across the Atlantic Ocean. Their objective is to return to their spawning grounds to breed, deep in the salt waters of the Sargasso Sea, between the Bahamas and Bermuda.
The Eel House contains three water channels running through it. They were built to house the iron grills that were used to trap the eels. For more than one hundred and sixty years, the river keeper would arrive at The Eel House to set his traps and manoeuvre his live catch into a boat shaped eel box.
Buildings constructed specifically for eel trapping are extremely rare in the United Kingdom. Entry is free but donations would be appreciated as fundraising is ongoing to complete the restoration of the inside.
● Sunday 15 September: 1100-1600
No booking required
Access to the Eel House is along a riverside path. The footpath could be muddy.
Alresford is a 'T' shaped small town. From the central T-junction of Broad Street with East and West Streets, head down the hill on West Street. Take the first right into The Dean. At the bottom of The Dean turn left onto the footpath alongside the clear waters of the River Alre. The Eel House is 500 metres along this Wayfarers' Way path.