OXFORD: Path diversion

There is a temporary diversion in Oxford from Monday 9 March.

Just upstream of Folly Bridge there will be work on the footbridge carrying the towpath over the main Bulstake Stream channel.

Go over the Gas Bridges to follow Castle Mill Stream.
At Oxpends Road go left to walk as far as Park End Street.
Turn left to go under the railway by Oxford Station and reach Osney Bridge.

The towpath should reopen by Easter in early April.

Magna Carta 800: Travelodge at Egham

A Travelodge has opened at Egham just in time for the Magna Carta 800 celebrations on nearby Runnymede in June.

This will be handy for walkers as it is in the town centre, next to the new Waitrose, and near the station.

The best approach to the Thames Path is to walk down Hummer Road and across Runnymede.

Travelodge Egham is in Church Road.


Maidenhead fails to reopen towpath section

Windsor & Maidenhead Council has confirmed that it will not be reopening the towpath upstream of Maidenhead Bridge.

A short stretch has been unavailable to walkers. On Wednesday the planning committee approved the creation of a short footpath along Ray Mead Road instead of the riverside.

The Open Spaces Society is angry that the Thames Path National Trail is to follow Maidenhead’s Ray Mead Road rat run.

The council had applied to create a footway along Ray Mead Road, extending an existing footpath by about 17 metres with a maximum width of 1.5 metres. The Open Spaces Society and Ramblers objected along with other organisations and residents.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says: “This decision massively sets back the cause of getting a riverside route for the Thames Path National Trail.

“Walkers on the Thames Path are currently forced away from the river by the properties at Bridge View instead of continuing along the disused slipway of the former boathouse. The aim has always been to provide a riverside route. But now the council is legitimising the unpleasant walk along the Ray Mead Road rat run.

“This footpath will not be safe for pedestrians. It is only 1.5 metres wide at a maximum, and the occupiers of Bridge View need parking spaces. Although the council claims it will enforce against illegal parking across the footpath, it has never enforced parking on the footway before—for the past 24 years. We do not believe it has the resources or staff to police this.”

Kate adds: “The River Thames is Maidenhead’s crowning glory and the Thames Path should be celebrated, not shoved beside a busy road. This is a devastating outcome, for Maidenhead, its residents and visitors.”

Deptford Creek footbridge opens

new Deptford Creek footbridge

Deptford Creek footbridge

Br poletall closeupBr fromDe

Dreadnought Walk


The swing bridge at Deptford Creek has opened.

The first walkers crossed on Monday.

There is now a new Thames Path route between Greenwich’s Cutty Sark and Deptford.

After passing Cutty Sark (left) follow the riverside to Horseferry Place.

But do not turn left down Horseferry Place. Instead keep ahead across sheltered Wood Wharf to enter the New Capital Quay development.

Follow the wide and straight Dreadnought Walk to pass BCT shop (left). Soon there is Victoria Parade and Waitrose (left) and the river (right).

Continue along Dreadnought Walk to pass a playground (right). The wide way (unlike the riverside path behind the playground) leads directly to the swing bridge at Deptford Creek.

The bridge reaches the Deptford bank at Munure’s Cafe. A slope leads down to the waterside in front of the Peter the Great statue.

So the Thames Path no longer crosses Deptford’s main road swing bridge but both bridges have to open almost daily at high tide for vessels working from the Euromix Centre higher up the creek.

Waitrose does not have a cafe but it will of course be useful for picnic food and drinks in the summer.

Search for Pooh Sticks site

Organisers of the World Pooh Sticks Championships at Day’s Lock in Oxfordshire are looking for a new venue.

The tradition was started in 1984 by the lock keeper but for the past 31 years the Rotary Club has organised the event.

Hundreds of competitors take it in turns to drop sticks off the bridge and race to the other side to see which is winning.

So many cars now arrive that a venue with better parking than an often muddy field near Dorchester-on-Thames is needed.

The Rotary Club says the ideal venue would have one or two bridges over the river, access for the safety boats and space for parking as well the registration and games tents.

‘Riverside only’ at Maidenhead says Open Spaces Society

The Open Spaces Society is calling on Windsor and Maidenhead Council to reject the planning application for a footpath along Ray Mead Road instead of reopening the towpath.

The controversial site is just upstream of Maidenhead Bridge where walkers have to leave the historic line of towpath and go inland round a building.

Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, says: “While the application is seemingly innocuous it would have a devastating effect on the future of the Thames Path National Trail.

“At present the Thames Path is forced away from the river by the properties at Bridge View. The goal, for the council, Natural England and user and amenity groups, is to provide a riverside route all the way. The name ‘Thames Path’ is a travesty in Maidenhead when you are forced to walk alongside the busy Ray Mead Road.”

“The proposed path creation alongside Bridge View in Ray Mead Road will not make a safer route for pedestrians. It is only 1.5 metres wide at a maximum, and the occupiers of Bridge View will need parking spaces. These would be severely reduced by the creation of the footpath. The occupiers would no doubt attempt to park in smaller spaces than they have now and would inevitably park over the footpath. They would certainly drive to and fro across it.

“So walkers on the footpath will have to vie not only with the heavy traffic in Ray Mead Road, but also with the parked and moving cars belonging to the occupants of Bridge View. The proposed new footpath will merely exacerbate an already unsatisfactory and dangerous situation.

“Last year the council proposed to provide eight parking-spaces in Bridge Gardens as part of the package for creating the new path along Ray Mead Road. Fortunately, that plan for a car-park has been abandoned. It was anyway contrary to the use of Bridge Gardens as a public open space. Without the provision of alternative parking space, the occupants of Bridge View will wish to park outside their properties. The council does not have sufficient resources constantly to enforce against abuse and obstruction of the public footpath.”

Kate concludes: “If this application is accepted it will severely set back the opportunity to provide a riverside route for the Thames Path beside the River Thames. The Thames Path National Trail is of national and international importance. It brings visitors into the heart of Maidenhead and should be celebrated not relegated to a busy roadside route.”

The Big Allotment Challenge at Mapledurham

The Big Allotment Challenge is back on BBC2 and again filmed in the walled garden of Mapledurham House.

Mapledurham is across the river from the Thames Path upstream of Purley.

Alice anniversary in Oxford

Alice in Wonderland stamp

Alice in Wonderland stamp

This year 2015 sees several anniversaries but for the Thames it is a special year in which to remember ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

It is just over 150 years ago that Charles Dodgson took ten year old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boat trip upstream from Oxford’s Folly Bridge to a picnic at Godstow.

The date was Friday 4 July 1862 and it was two years before Dodgson wrote out the story he told on the trip. The publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland under the name Lewis Carroll came in 1865.

The actual publication date is probably early December 1865 since the first print run was held back after illustrator John Tenniel objected to the print quality.

Royal Mail is issuing special stamps and there are big plans for celebrations in Oxford on 4 July this year which is a Saturday.

Magna Carta: Barnes announces celebrations

This year of 2015 will see many Magna Carta anniversary events along the River Thames.

The site of the sealing of the charter is of course Runnymede.

But the barons had been plotting and negotiating with King John at The Temple in the City of London where there are anniversary events.

Another focus for the 800th anniversary year is Barnes wehre Archbishop Langton stopped off on his way back from Runnymede to consecrate the parish church.

On the actual anniversary day of Magna Carta there will be a service at St Mary’s Barnes where the preacher is Archbishop’s Langton’s successor Rowan Williams.

But has Barnes chosen the right day? It seems that Archbishop Langton, who secured the King’s agreement to the charter on Trinity Monday 15 June 1215, probably stayed another week as post agreement negotiations continued until Friday when the barons renewed their homage to the King.

So the consecration at Barnes could have been on Saturday 20 June with the Archbishop reaching his home in Lambeth in the evening.

At Barnes the anniversary year of lectures and other events begins with a visit by the Bishop of Southwark on 1 February.

In June a three day walk is planned from Runnymede to Barnes. A few days earlier villagers from Odiham in Hampshire, where King John set out for Runnymede on Wednesday 10 June 1215, will be walking to the Magna Carta site by the Thames.

Maidenhead: Path to stay by road

The plan to improve the Thames Path just upstream of Maidenhead Bridge has been downgraded after much discussion and false starts.

The garden wall at Bridge View in Ray Mead Road will be dismantled and rebuilt a little back from the road to give enough space for a footpath.

The idea of diverting the path back on to the original line of the towpath has been abandoned.

The new plan will be considered by the Maidenhead Council planning committee in the New Year.

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