Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 12: Cholsey to Clifton Hampden (Section 2)

Shillingford Bridge to Clifton Hampden

As I got nearer to the bridge the path left the river for a while. It led me past Shillingford Manor, down an alley leading to Wharf Lane and then out onto the main road.

It was another 500m and across a field before I had sight of the river again. With more time I would have left the path and visited the town of Dorchester. However that will have to wait until I visit this area again.
Over on the left the woods of Wittenham known as Wittenham Clumps.
Standing on the wooden bridge I am looking down on a small river entering the main stream. This is  the Thame running into the Isis making the Thamesis or Thames. From this point going upstream, strictly speaking, I am following the Isis river but as the greatest river in England it is popularly known as the Thames all the way from the source out to the sea.

This is Little Wittenham Bridge which is where the annual World Pooh Sticks championships are held.
Day's Lock has been described as the most historical spot in Oxfordshire. Iron age man built a hilltop fort on Castle hill which is just a short distance away and in the bend of the river an iron age settlement developed. When the Romans arrived they built a camp where the road crossed the river Thame. This was the beginning of the town of Dorchester.

The path leads you across the river via the lock and the weir.

A little further upstream the boats emerge from the lock into the calmer waters of the river.

This huge bracket fungi caught my eye as I walked beneath.

It is now a long walk around the curve of the river for approx 3 miles. It is a hot and humid day and I am looking forward to arriving in the next village in the hope of getting a cool drink.

On the other side of the river is the village of Burcot but there is no public right of landing so I won't see any narrowboats moored here.

This is  Clifton meadow,a flood meadow. It is alive with wild flowers and insects especially bees and butterflies.
The meadow is cut for hay and is used for grazing cattle. Fortunately I didn't encounter them today. However I did have to walk through the nettles and thistles and came away with a number of stings and scratches

At last I can see Clifton Hampden Bridge where I will be leaving the river for today.
Climbing back up to the road from the riverside in front of me was the welcome sight of the Barley Mow pub.  It had been a long walk today especially being governed by a rail timetable. I had walked quickly and left myself time to sit and enjoy a cold drink. The pub is a 14th cent inn with its low thatch and ancient timber frame. The low doors need careful entry as the sign says 'Duck or Grouse'.

Clifton Hampden Bridge. A very narrow bridge built in 1864 but there are passing points for pedestrians to wait in whilst vehicles speed past.

Once across the bridge the spire of the church which is built on a cliff overlooking the river can now be seen quite clearly.

The village is beautiful with its thatched cottages and the village shop. There was no time for me to look around the village, I will do that when I return tomorrow. I also noticed a bus stop which meant an alternative way of returning to the village for my next day's walk.

As for today a mile or so down the road I found the station of Culham with its infrequent trains but at least I had got there in time to catch the one I needed.


  1. Little Wittenham is worth a look round as well if you come back again though it is very small

  2. My grandmother had a plate with an English village scene painted on it and from memory the house looked exactly like the thatched one you photographed. Interesting about the Thame and Isis.

  3. Thanks for sharing..Great post/photos

  4. You are clever to work out how long it takes you to walk from one station to the next. The thatched roof house is lovely.


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