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.
A few weeks ago, we decided that we’d like to have a go walking the length of the River Thames. Not all at once you understand, but going from lock to lock. While we’ve walked parts of it before, we’d like to make sure we walk all of it. We aren’t planning to do it in any particular order, as it all depends on how far the distance is between locks, how far it is and where the pubs are!
We decided to start in Abingdon and walk through Culham lock to Clifton lock. We didn’t want to walk back the way we came, so we parked one car at Rye Farm car park in Abingdon where we started our walk and another at the Barley Mow car park, as we planned on eating lunch there.
I love walking by the locks with their lock keeper cottages. They always make me thing of ‘times gone by’! It’s fascinating to think of the locks being built to help boats get about and I’d love to travel along the Thames by boat and wave at dog walkers walking on by.
The walk from Abingdon lock is a lovely one. It’s easy going with beautiful views across the river and fields. There are loads of pillboxes hidden all over the place along the Thames, as well as loads of different wildlife and plants. We even saw a heron in the middle of a field!
Be wary of other people using the path, especially at points where the path becomes narrow. We met a cyclist coming in the opposite direction and it wasn’t easy to pass them, especially with Poppy trying to get close to them, wanting to get a chin rub off them!
We aren’t doing the locks in any particular order. I can’t wait for the next installment!
The Walk: The walk along the Thames path is fairly easy, just about 6 miles (I think). There are a few sections that can get muddy and slippy, most noticeably just after the Culham lock, near the firing range.
Car Park: We parked one car at the Rye Farm car park for three hours for £1.50. That was enough time for us to walk up to the Abingdon lock to start our walk. We parked another at the Barley Mow car park for our return journey.
Refreshments: We had lunch at the Barley Mow in Clifton Hampden, sitting outside with Poppy. While vegan options are limited (I had a jacket potato with baked beans!), the food can be pretty good here.
Toilets: There is a toilet at the start of the walk just under the bridge in Abingdon, but you do have to pay for it.