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|Along the Thames: Shillingford to Abingdon|
|Author: NickC, Published: 17 Apr 2013||Walk rating : Rating:|
|Oxfordshire, Abingdon, Shillingford|
|This straightforward, if fairly lengthy, walk criss-crosses the River Thames as it meanders its way through the Oxfordshire countryside. It is marked out by four bridges, Shillingford at the start and Abingdon at the end, with those at Clifton Hampden and Culham in between. There's meadows, fieldside walking and brushes with local villages, as well as a number of locks, where lock-keepers sometimes offer ice cream or other refreshment during the summer. Even if they are not when you are there, these locks are often highly picturesque and offer good 'pause points' to sit and watch the river traffic go by. |
The walk is linear, although it ends in Abingdon where you can either park a second car or get a taxi back to the start point. Public transport options aren't great. This is an all day walk, there's no point in hurrying it, taking around 4-5 hours to complete without stops (which you will need).
Shillingford lies at the junction of the A329 and A4074, three miles north of Wallingford, half way between Oxford and Didcot. Park in the car park of the Shillingford Bridge Hotel (postcode OX10 8LZ), asking the owner's permission.
|Start to Days Lock|
Start point: 51.6236 lat, -1.1403 long
From the hotel car park turn left and over the bridge, heading up the Wallingford Road. On reaching Court Drive, turn left, following this road until you reach Shillingford Court and, after turning left into a passage, the old Shillingford Wharf. The wharf is distinguished by a number of flood marks and was once used to land coal and send off beer brewed at the Kingfisher pub, which you now have to reach by heading up the length of Wharf Road. Look out for the magnificent wisteria growing on the side of a cottage here.
|Days Lock to Clifton Hampden Bridge|
Start point: 51.6384 lat, -1.179 long
Go through the kissing gate at the end of the lock compound and cross over the river at the lock gates and weir. Bear right and follow the meadows in front of you as they curve round to the left. On the far bank you might just make out Burcot and its long gardens. Until the middle of the seventeenth century this marked the end of navigation from London and goods had to be unloaded here to make the final journey to Oxford.
|Clifton Hampden Bridge to Culham Bridge|
Start point: 51.6545 lat, -1.2097 long
Cross over the bridge and go down the slope on your left to Clifton Lock. Pass along the side of the lock and pick up the footpath on the other side. The long straight section that follows is man-made, being Clifton Cut, dug in 1822 to bypass a straggling stretch of river to the south.
|Culham Bridge to Abingdon Bridge (End)|
Start point: 51.6507 lat, -1.2661 long
Cross over the bridge and head left past Culham Lock. The path now follows the line of the Culham Cut, again created to bypass a meadering section of river to the south, the success of which prompted the Clifton Cut seen in the previous section to be dug.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author NickC and may not be reproduced without permission.
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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