New Thames lock-keepers

The Environment Agency has appointed four new resident lock-keepers to serve on the River Thames.

Relief keeper John O’Hara is the new lock-keeper at Radcot in Oxfordshire, Northmoor keeper Mark Winks moves to Osney in Oxford, relief Aiden Mahon to nearby Iffley and Benson keeper Katie Marshall to Romney below Windsor Castle.

“I’m delighted to announce these four appointments,” says Thames waterways manager Barry Russell.

“Along with two other full-time lock and weir-keeper appointments we made in earlier in the year, they underscore our commitment to retain resident lock and weir-keepers at sites where there is an operational need.”

John, Mark, Aiden and Katie will move to their new sites and new homes over the coming weeks.

The Optic Cloak: New Greenwich landmark


The Optic Cloak is a new landmark on the Greenwich Peninsula.

It can be seen from the Thames Path but at present the temporary diversion along Tunnel Avenue allows for a closer view.

The tall artwork, by Conrad Shawcross, is camouflage for the soaring flues of an energy centre providing low-carbon energy to homes on the Peninsula.

Diversion at Oxford’s Osney Bridge

A temporary diversion is in place for a year in Oxford.

This is at the start of Stage 17 north from Osney Bridge.

The towpath beside the channel with a view of allotments on the far side is closed.

The temporary route is right for a very short distance along Botley Road and left into Abbey Road.

On reaching the junction with Cripley Place go left again down a passage between numbers 7 and 9.

The diversion is for demolition of existing buildings by the towpath and the the erection of six houses.

The Times visits The Trout at Tadpole

The Trout at Tadpole in Oxfordshire has been reviewed in The Times.

Tom Chesshyre writes that “The Trout is on a remote section of the Thames”. He is right. I recall dropping in on a hot day in the early 1980s before the Thames Path was invented. It was a simple pub with just a few customers.

It is “now a gastropub” and part of the 19-strong Epicurean collection of inns claiming to ‘celebrate the British countryside’.

The reviewer reports: “The public areas were given a slick makeover with tan leather armchairs, cobalt-blue wood panels, quirky art and unusual, rhino-shaped lamps.”

But he says that it is “particularly popular with Thames Path walkers because there’s plenty of space to dry wet boots”.

This is true because walkers are divided between not just those willing and able to to pay above the average price and those wanting to keep accommodation basic and brief. No time to enjoy luxury say some.

B&B doubles are available from £130. A three course dinner for two is about £55.

The Trout, Tadpole Bridge SN7 8RF (01367 870382)

Greenwich Peninsula official diversion

The official diversion route on the Greenwich Peninsula caused by building work has been made available by Greenwich Council.

But the one below may be better:

The signs, mainly intended for downstream walkers, do not correspond with the council map. Once in Blackwall Lane do you turn down Mauritius Street or Azof Street? But it does not much matter.

From the 02

When walking  south, or upstream, from the 02 (or Dome) continue as usual over Victoria Deep Water Terminal to Bay Wharf. Here the path swings inland to a  T-junction where you now have to go left:

At the main road go right. Soon you are separated from the main road by what appears to be aslip road but is Tunnel Avenue. This passes behind Morden Wharf. At a junction bear right into Blackwall.

At the Meantime Brewery go right into Mauritius Street and at the end left down Christchurch Way.

At the first crossroads it is possible to leave the official diversion by following a temporary waymark pointing right into Banning Street. Then go right at the Pelton Arms into Pelton Street.

But the official route is still ahead over the crossroads to go right at the Royal Standard into Pelton Street.

Pelton Street leads to the Thames. Bear left on to Ballast Quay.

These arrangements are expected to remain in place until at least February 2018.

Pelton Arms

Pelton Arms sign

Pelton Arms sign

The Pelton Arms, SE London CAMRA Pub of the Year 2016, may be away from the normal riverside Thames Path but it is part of the Thames history. It was built in 1844 when coal was brought by sea from the north of England and unloaded here.

The road and pub are named after the Pelton Colliery at Chester-le-Street in County Durham which opened in 1835.

Fish and chips, burgers and Goddards’ Greenwich meat pies are available at lunchtime. A three course Sunday lunch is £12.95.

Greenwich Peninsula diversion

The predicted diversion along the west side of the Greenwich Peninsula is being put in place for the next two years.

This is to allow unimpeded luxury flat and liner terminal redevelopment

After Victoria Deep Water Terminal the Thames Path runs round Bay Wharf to a T-junction.

It is at this T-junction that walkers will now have to go left to the road.

Here turn right into Tunnel Avenue alongside the main road; right into Blackwall Lane; right into Azof Street; left into Banning Street and right into Pelton Street to reach Ballast Quay.

Such a diversion here with scarce warning has been endured before. The only good news is that the diversion again passes the excellent Pelton Arms which has good refreshment.

The best information is not from the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council but Greenwich Love.

Thames Path play on Radio 4

A four part comedy drama in which mother and daughter spend two weeks walking the Thames Path starts on Radio 4 this Wednesday 27 July.

Episode one of Guilt Trip sees mother and daughter start out at the source. Later the mother offends a camp site warden.

Mother and daughter are played by mother and daughter Felicity Montagu and Olivia Nixon.

The broadcast is at 11.30am and available afterwards on iplayer.

Garden Bridge asks Grayling for support

Lord Davies of Abersoch, chairman of the Garden Bridge Trust, has urged the new Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to back the Garden Bridge project.

His appeal comes at the time of astonishing news that the Trust is asking the Department for Transport for an extension to the financial support offered by the Government.

A Department spokesperson said that ministers were considering the request.

The project is extremely unpopular with local residents and walkers including the Inner London Ramblers.

Trees would be cut down along the Thames Path to make way for a bridge landing and new building blocking the view of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Enjoy the trees and the view this summer while you can.

Before and after (Thames Central Open Spaces)

Before and after (Thames Central Open Spaces)

Thames Central Open Spaces is campaigning against the Garden Bridge.

Thames Path anniversary weekend

The Thames Path 20th Anniversary Relay Walk has reached London.

This Saturday 23 July 2016 the relay will set out from St George Wharf in Vauxhall at 10.30am to cover the twelve miles to the Thames Barrier.

The party will be passing the great landmarks including Lambeth Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, St Paul’s Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral.

From the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, the walkers will be replicating the first walk on the opening day in 1996.

The actual anniversary is Sunday 24 July when long distance path author Colin Saunders will lead the sixteenth and final walk downstream from the Thames Barrier to Crayford Marshes.

This is the unofficial but now viable extension as included in Cicerone’s new Thames Path guide published this year.

The guide is available direct from Cicerone at 25% discount and post free until 31 July.

Swan Upping week

Swan Upping starts on the Thames today at Sonning.

This week walkers will see the skiffs belonging to the Queen and the Vintners’ and Dyers’ livery companies carrying the Royal Swan Uppers and the Swan Uppers upstream as they count the swans and check on their health.

The Royal Swan Uppers wear the scarlet uniform.

Today’s trip ends at Romney Lock below Windsor Castle when the crews will stand and drink a toast the Queen.

The rough timetable is below:

Monday 18th July 2016
Sunbury Lock Cut 09.00 – Departure point
Shepperton Lock 10.45
Penton Hook Lock 12.30
Romney Lock 17.30

Tuesday 19th July 2016
Eton Bridge 08.45 – Departure point
Boveney Lock 09.45
Boulters Lock 13.00
Cookham Bridge 14.00
Marlow Lock 17.30

Wednesday 20th July 2016
Marlow Bridge 09.00 – Departure point
Hurley Lock 10.30
Hambleden Lock 12.00
Henley Town 13.30
Marsh Lock 15.30
Shiplake Lock 17.00
Sonning Bridge 18.00

Thursday 21st July 2016
Sonning-on-Thames 09.00 – Departure point
Caversham Lock 10.15
Mapledurham Lock 12.15
Goring Lock 17.00
Moulsford 18.00

Friday 22nd July 2016
Moulsford 09.00 – Departure point
Benson Lock 10.15
Clifton Hampden Bridge 13.00
Culham Lock 16.15
Abingdon Bridge 17.00

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