Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 12:Cholsey to Clifton Hampden

Section 1

Cholsey to Shillingford Bridge

Upon leaving Cholsey station I walked down Papist Way. The name being a  throwback to the time after Henry VIII broke with Rome and catholics could not openly practise their faith for another 300 years. Papist Way leads down to the river where there once was a ferry crossing allowing Catholic families to meet with one another as far downstream as Mapledurham  and upstream to Dorchester.

As this is where the road meets the river I assume this was where the the Littlestoke ferry crossed.
I turned left through the Cholsey nature reserve continuing my journey upstream. Often the vegetation was so high that it was difficult to see the river.
Today was going to be a long walk and knowing there was only one train from Culham to get me back to Reading, (where I could then get a train home to London) I needed to keep up a good pace. So I was pleased when the path wandered through the open meadows and across lawns.

Past a slipway and boat house.
There is quite a distance between the locks here making it an ideal spot for the rowers.

A large renovation job on this property but what an ideal spot with views of the river and the Chilterns.
Uo ahead was the new bypass bridge.

This is the Oxford University Boat Club.

Quite a boat club! I think it is the largest I have seen so far by the river.

Mr and Mrs Swan with their young family curious to see if I had any crumbs for them.
As I was making good time I left the path to go and have a look at the old town of Wallingford.

I wasn't disappointed as I walked along medieval streets looking at houses built hundreds of years ago.

Although this church of St Mary-le-More looks old it was actually rebuilt in 1854 after being demolished by a bolt of lightning in 1653. The tower was replaced by reused stones from the castle which had been dismantled by Oliver Cromwell.

Climbing the mound to where the castle tower used to stand gives a view of the town and also the river. In the distance you can see Wallingford Bridge. William the Conqueror built the castle here in
1067 to defend the important river crossing. It was enlarged during the 13th cent during the reigns of King John and Henry III. As well as being a military strongpoint it was also home to many medieval Queens. After the civil war Oliver Cromwell decided it was too much of a risk to remain standing and so had it dismantled.

To return to the path I had to cross the meadows with this herd of cows grazing there. Couldn't believe some of them even had horns!
Once away from the meadow I approached the Benson lock and weir.

 The path leads you over the lock gates and then across the weir.

 The sound and sight of the water thundering over the weir is breathtaking.
 This is a footbridge over the mill stream

Looking back to the weir I had just crossed.
 A small bridge leads across this side stream onto the marina and caravan area.
 Benson Cruiser station. I needed to watch where I was walking otherwise I could see myself tripping up and ending in the river.

The  arches of Shillingford bridge soon come into view.


  1. That is so good to see the area I live from anothers point of view. The place you mention needed renovateing is part of the old Carmel College or Mongewell park as it is known. The whole place is going to be redeveloped at some time. The left had side of the boathouse you showed was a WW2 defended building(big pillbox)read more about the park here.

  2. Great pics of this area. You be careful don't want you disappearing on us.


Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.