Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day13 Clifton Hampden to Oxford

Section 1
Clifton Hampden to Abingdon

I was a bit late getting started on my walk today as there were no trains back to Culham at the time I wanted so I had to get a train from Paddington to Didcot Parkway. From there it was a bus ride but being in the country now, the buses are few and far between. Being a city girl, of course, I am used to 4 or 5 buses an hour. It was a long wait as I had just missed one. By the time I reached Clifton Hampden it was almost 12, half the day gone. But from today I was not going to return home and had booked accomodation in Oxford for tonight. That did mean that my pack was a little heavier than usual but at least I didn't have to worry about getting a train home I just had a 15 mile walk ahead of me!

I took the opportunity of having a closer look at the village with its picturesque thatched houses and the churh perched on the top of the small cliff.

St Michael and All Angels Church

This is a 12th cent carving of a boar which was found during the restoration of the church in the 19th cent.

A view of the river from the churchyard.

The other side of the church looks over the village.

Back on the path again I walked beneath this lovely bridge. At 150 years old it is nowhere near as old as many of the Thames bridges but I like the shape of the arches.

I was beginning to notice a lot of reeds growing along the river banks often shielding the river from view.
A short distance from the village is the picturesque Clifton Lock.

This wooden bridge allows farmers access to the island formed by the loop in the river. Fortunately no herds of cattle were being moved over it as I walked past.

However a little further on I spotted the farmer's herd have a little paddle.

Can just see the spire of Appleford Church with Didcot Power Station in the distance.

Lots of work going on here to reinforce the Appleford railway bridge. They had forgotten it was a right of way so I needed to scramble over the planks of wood.
As I walked under the bridge there were a few bags of rubbish etc which looked as though someone had been sleeping rough here.
On the other side of the bridge there was a safety boat just in case any of the workers fell in the river.
The bright red poppies brighten up any footpath.
The path is overgrown on both sides with little view of the river.

Sutton Courtney Bridge which takes you to the village but I'm going to continue with the walk otherwise I'll never get to Oxford today.

No boats waiting to go into Culham lock at the moment

Culham Bridge was built of stone between 1416 and 1422 to replace an ancient ford called Culham Hythe. During the English Civil war the bridge was of great strategic importance. The Parlimentarians had control of the bridge in 1644 and were able to prevent royalist food convoys on the way to Oxford. The Royalists tried to recapture the bridge and this skirmish was known as the battle of Culham Bridge.

The bridge was superceded by a modern road bridge in 1928 and is now classed as an ancient monument.
This was the best view I could get of the bridge. The trees and bushes were so overgrown it was impossible to get closer.

The Jubilee junction opened in 2006 and is the new entrance to the Wiltshire and Berkshire canal into the Thames.
Abingdon marina.

The beautiful spire of St Helen's church makes quite an impression as you walk towards Abingdon bridge.
The original bridge, with its 14 arches was built around the same time as Old Culham bridge in 1416, but this one was rebuilt in 1928-9. However it still has a medieval look about it.

Built on the bridge is The Nag's Head pub.

Here is the Abbey mill stream leading to the mill house which is now used as offices of the Friends of Abingdon.

Just across the bridge is the old gaol built in 1811 possibly by Napoleonic prisoners of war. It was a much better design than previous prisons as all cells had a window allowing prisoners access to light and ventilation. The building has now been converted to living accommodation and an arts centre.

Abingdon County Hall, built in 1678-82 by Kempster who was a student of Sir Christopher Wren. Abingdon used to be the county town of Berkshire but that is now Reading. In fact Abingdon is no longer part of Berkshire but is now part of Oxfordshire since 1974. The building is now a museum with a very pleasant cafe in the basement.
St Nicholas' Church which dates back to the12th cent.

That beautiful plaque above the door states that John Foysse opened a school here in 1563.

The Abbey gardens are a well laid out park with flowers, trees and a lake creating some picturesque walks. The land was the site of a medieval Abbey and during Victorian times a wealthy wine merchant bought the land and built a house and gardens here.

The remains of a folly he built here. A folly is usually a very expensive building with no purpose other than to impress.

Time to sadly leave Abingdon and continue with my journey but it is another place to which I will return one day when I have more time to explore.


  1. Sad to say there are a few places you have shown that I have not visited yet one being the Abbey gardens. Here is a better photo of Old Culham bridge.

  2. Looks like another lovely walk. How much farther to go?

  3. Wow..what a gorgeous area, and just fill with history!

  4. You illustrate your walk so well - 15 miles is a bit too far for me alas.

  5. Wow, again great post. really all picture series looking glorious...thanks for sharing. or yes my new post has been updated...

  6. I've never heard of that town but it sounds fascinatingly historic. Glad that you are getting accommodation in Oxford. You are doing a great job with the posts and adding so much info. you must do a lot of research too.


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