We’re back on our plan to walk the Thames Path, now that everything isn’t completely muddy. Our first stint, since the one we did last year, was from Abingdon Lock to Sandford Lock. It was a lovely, easy walk, that had me feeling like we were a million miles from anywhere. We only saw about three or four other people the whole time. The first part of the walk was insanely muddy and it really slowed us down. But once we got away from Abingdon and closer to Radley, it cleared up a lot.
There were some fabulous views along the way, including seeing Iron Man, which was an unexpected surprise! It’s always amazing what you can see when you’re walking along the lesser used parts of the Thames. We kept on passing fields and fields, full of geese who were clearly loving the food they could find there. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to see some rowing action, whichever bit you’re walking along!
The walk is fairly easy to do and we completed it in just over two hours, with a little rest stop for drinks and snacks. There was no where to stop along this stretch, but there are plenty of places the other side of Sandford Lock, where there’s a pub and a few places to park your car. It’s the perfect walk to do in a morning or afternoon, as it won’t take up too much time and isn’t too strenuous.
For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a bit of pampering. If I want some ‘me’ time or need to relax, then a back massage is what I go for. I’m a huge fan of Fawsley Hall, but it’s not close to where I live so I need to find somewhere good that is within a walk or short drive from home. Nothing tenses my shoulders up more than traffic! I’ve tried a couple of places in Abingdon, but nothing really suited me. Thinking about where to do, I realised that I’d never been to Utopia Beautique, despite having lived in Abingdon for years. I had a quick look on their website to see if a back massage was on offer, which is was, and contacted them for a suitable appointment during half term and to find out if their products were suitable for vegans. I secured an appointment and the products Utopia use are suitable for vegans. Fantastic!
I’ve had a number of back massages but this was the first time that I lay on my back for my massage. There were two water filled cushions on the table, which I lay on and they were warmed to body temperature. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t think it would be possible to apply enough pressure to my back, neck and shoulders if I was lying on my back, but thought I’d give it a go.
I’m glad I did. While it was different and took a little while to get used to, it was a much more gentle approach. I can tell when a masseur gets to my shoulders and feels the humungous knots in them. Usually, they go to town on my shoulders, which in lots of cases, means my shoulders can be painful for a few days after. Not exactly the result you want. However, this did not happen at Utopia. While the masseur could feel the knots, because I was on my back, she dealt with them in a different, more gentle way. It was so relaxing and my shoulders felt relaxed and stress free, without any discomfort. I can heartily recommend it and would definitely go back the next time my shoulders are up around my ears!
A few weeks ago, we all headed over to Radley Lakes for an adventure and boy, did we get one! Radley Lakes is a lovely place to visit in itself, but there are lots of paths leading away from the lakes, enabling you to really explore the area, should you wish. We did and we had a good look around. I had plenty of opportunities to practise with my new camera and I was plenty surprised with the results!
When we arrived, we could hear the distinctive buzz of motocross bikes, which became quite annoying, until we were able to watch them from across the river later on. We went around the lake and headed out to the Thames Path so we could really explore the area. There are so many different walks, that I know we’ll go back there again and again. It’s such a tranquil area – and practically on our doorstep! Gorgeous!
One of the highlights for me was seeing a Kingfisher for the first time ever! It was kind of blue blur, but it was pretty distinctive. The other highlight was seeing Poppy bravely entering the water so far. She’s not a fan of water but she was so intrigued by the smells that she couldn’t resist and she went in so far! Very proud dog owner moment! (At one point, I nearly fell in the lake taking pictures of Poppy in the water!)
The Walk: There are lots of different areas around Radley Lakes that are great for walking. For more information, see the Friends of Radley Lakes website.
Cost: Completely free!
Car Park: There isn’t a dedicated car park, but there are some streets nearby which are have parking. We parked in the business estate, but you could park in the Abbey Meadows car park and walk over.
Refreshments: Nope, but there are plenty of places to stop with a thermos and some homemade cake, but there are plenty of places providing refreshments in Abingdon.
Toilets: Nope, but there are some in Abingdon, should you need them.
Well I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to Autumn. I like living in a country where the seasons are so different. I enjoyed the warm summer days we had in July and am glad that, while Autumn is on its way, there are a few of these lovely days left. What’s even better, is when you find little hidden gems to enjoy them.
We found this little hidden gem while walking around Radley Lakes in Abingdon a weekend or so ago. The weather was surprisingly warm considering it’s been such a cold August – I had to take my coat off, it was that warm! We had a lovely walk around the Lake then went off on a bit of tangent in search of the Thames path. We found this gorgeous lake, that had beautifully clear water, which Poppy paddled in, some fish, ducks and even a kingfisher! I’ve never seen one before, so was really thrilled to see it. (I like to get my nature geek on occasionally, as long as nature keeps a respectable distance!) Having lived in Abingdon for nearly five years, I’m amazed at how much of it I don’t yet know. This little gem is a definite keeper for dog walks. Love it!