Date of Walk: 21 April 2014
Approx Distance of Walk: 6 km (4.5 miles) includes stretch between river and Radley Station
Parking/Transport: Car Park by Abingdon Bridge
Starting Point: Radley (Grid Ref SP 538988)
Finishing Point: Abingdon Bridge
It has been a few months since we walked any of the Thames Path, mainly due to the wet winter and the probability that the path would either be flooded or very muddy for walking. But we made up for this last week when we had 3 separate walks on 3 different stretches of the Thames. This was the first of these walks, on a stretch of the Thames in Oxfordshire, probably somewhere in the middle of the whole stretch, where the river is sort of medium sized. The other 2 walks were at either extreme - one over near Cricklade in the Cotswolds, where the river is small and un-navigable, and the other almost at the end, around Greenwich in London, where the river is wide, busy and vibrant. But for now, we are in Oxfordshire.
We parked our car in Abingdon and from there took a 5 minute bus-ride to the village of Radley. It was about a mile from Radley Station to reach the point in the river where we finished a previous walk.
It was a nice sunny day and we stopped once we got to the river for a quiet cup of coffee. The boat club belonging to Radley College, a public school, provided a convenient seat for us.
Then we set off on the way-marked path.
The path followed the river through some quiet countryside...
...and we were passed by a 'nordic walking' couple. Never mind, we go at our own comfortable pace.
We pass a fancy boathouse belonging to Nuneham House...
... and eventually the house itself appears on the opposite bank.
A warm and pleasant walk takes us past some newly sprouting fields...
... and a stylish house, with grounds that sweep right to the river bank.
We pass underneath a railway bridge, quite a busy line to Oxford.
At first glance we thought alligators had entered the Thames, but it was just a log!
As we got near to Abingdon we stopped for a picnic lunch on a bench we spotted, turning our backs on the litter and destruction left by some thoughtless folk.
As we continue towards Abingdon, we pass some houseboats, complete with an elegant resident cat.
After a while the path leaves the river and follows a rather boring ditch. Hmm - the Thames Path Guidebook describes this as a verdant inlet! I missed that bit.
Maybe this was the verdant inlet. Pretty.
Now we cross the weir and head towards the lock.
Abingdon Lock - quite busy with visitors on this Easter Bank Holiday Monday.
A sign by the lock gives us some indication of where we've been and where we still have to go.
After crossing the river at the weir and lock, it is now a short walk back into Abingdon.
We have another coffee break and spot a swan nesting on the opposite bank near the weir.
Abingdon Bridge is a complex affair, and accommodates an island in the middle of the stream.
This is the end of our walk for today, as we return to our car parked near the bridge.