Diversion above Oxford

Closed notices have appeared on the Thames Path just upstream of King’s Lock above Oxford.

The towpath footbridge spanning Wytham Stream  has been closed on safety grounds by the Environment Agency.

“As a precautionary measure, the bridge is closed until further notice,” says a spokesperson who explained that cracks have been reported in the concrete structure.

The best diversion is probably to leave the Thames Path having passed under the A34. Don’t take the lock road but bear half left to follow the Oxford Greenbelt Way.

This rejoins the Thames Path opposite Cassington Cut.

Commercial Pier Wharf diversion

Odessa Wharf walkway ready for Thames Path

Construction work on Commercial Pier Wharf in London’s Rotherhithe is a reminder that a long built but still closed section of the riverside path will shortly be opening.

The section is between Randall Rents to upstream Barnard’s Wharf adjacent to Surrey Docks Farm. The path already exists on Odessa Wharf and New Caledonian Wharf.

The closed Downtown Restaurant site and Commercial Pier Wharf are now being given a path to complete the link.

After Greenland Dock, on the Rotherhithe peninsula, the Thames Path at present turns down Randall Rents to the back of The Ship & Whale before running along Odessa Street.

At a sharp bend the TP turns right off the road on to Commercial Pier Wharf.

However this is temporarily blocked by the building works.


But, despite a misleading notice suggesting  a road diversion,  it is possible to turn right on a parallel narrow path to the works and  return at once to the river at Barnard’s Wharf.

Also confusing is the rebranding of Commercial Pier Wharf as New Pier Wharf.

The wharf is known for its red dockland crane which after much controversy over its condition was recently removed.

The Thames Path at present follows Randall Rents
Commercial Pier Wharf today
How Commercial Pier Wharf will look when completed as the rebranded New Pier Wharf
The Ship & Whale at the bottom of Randall Rents
A diversion also runs up the side of closed Commercial Pier Wharf

Thames Path extension ‘by 2020’

Riverside path by wider Thames near Dartford

It will come as a surprise to many that the Thames Path is about to be extended thanks to the England Coast Path.

There is already an unofficial start to the Thames Path at Erith which is eight miles downstream from the official start at the Thames Barrier.

Soon it will be possible to start at Grain on the so-called Isle of Grain in Kent.

This continuous extra 42 miles is expected to open in 2020.

The distance from the Thames Barrier to the river’s source at Kemble in Gloucestershire is 180 miles.

The distance from Grain in Kent to the source at Kemble will be 230 miles.

The Thames Estuary Partnership is encouraging walkers to let Natural England know if you think that this new stretch in Kent should also be called and signed ‘Thames Path’ or maybe ‘Thames Path and England Coast Path’.

Views should be sent to SouthEastCoastalAccess@naturalengland.org.uk by Easter.

Erith Pier where present Thames extension starts

RTS AGM at The Angel


Tower Bridge from an upstairs window at The Angel

The River Thames Society‘s central Tideway and Estuary Branch has held its AGM in Rotherhithe.

The meeting on Tuesday, followed by lunch, was at The Angel.

Chair Peter Finch gave a commentary on vessels passing the window which has  panoramic view of Tower Bridge.

The Angel dates from at least 1682 and is the successor to The Salutation belonging to Bermondsey Abbey.


Cargo ship H&S Wisdom sailing under the flag of Netherlands passes The Angel
The Angel at the end of Bermondsey Wall on the edge of Rotherhithe

Wider path planned between Blackfriars Bridges

Looking upstream on the proposed wider path at Blackfriars Bridge east side

The path outside Tate Modern is wide but on reaching Blackfriars Station the way narrows and between Blackfriars Railway Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge foot tunnel it can be a squash.

This has until recently been caused by the footprint of Ludgate House, the former Express Newspapers building, which has just been demolished.

The plans for the new building published this week allow for a much wider Thames Path here.

ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks

The Thames Path can b joined in central London and also enjoyed in lonely Oxfordshire

Tonight ITV has a surprise two and a half hour programme on walking.

It’s even on at peak time rather than late at night.

Britain’s Favourite Walks on ITV at 7.30pm features the Top 100.

 “Walking is one of Britain’s best loved pastimes, with around nine million of us enjoying pulling on our hiking boots and heading for the great outdoors every month…,” says presenter Julia Bradbury.
“This could be your next big adventure – you’re going to be blown away.”
We know that Oxford appears in the programme so we can I hope expect the Thames Path to be one of Top 100.
It should as the best known and most accessible path in Britain.

Oxford Diversion: Eastwyke Farm to Folly Bridge Oxford

Starting today Monday 8 January there is a diversion on the approach to Oxford.

When drawing level with the Cherwell and the start of the boathouses on the far bank it is necessary to turn inland.

The turning is at first narrow before widening with a hard surface as the Eastwyke Farm Pathway by the Oxford Spires Hotel.

At Abingdon Road go right along the pavement for half a mile to reach Folly Bridge.

The temporary route is expected to be in place until at least the end of January.


Battersea Power Station: New improved route

Battersea Power Station from Vauxhall

The Christmas holiday has seen a further improvement on the path between Vauxhall and Chelsea Bridge.

The new route does not yet follow the riverside at Battersea Power Station but it does take the walker away from the unpleasant  continuation of Nine Elms Lane known as Battersea Park Road.

ROUTE UPDATE: Vauxhall to Chelsea Bridge
It is now possible to stay by the river between Vauxhall Bridge and Heathwall Pumping Station at Nine Elms. On the way you pass close to the new USA Embassy where there is new seating.

The path turns inland to join Nine Elms Lane opposite Waitrose which had a handy toilet and cafe.

From here go right along the main road for short distance to turn back towards the river, passing between two tall buildings, and join Tideway Walk with its houseboats.

Pass the new glass Nine Elms Tavern (left). Where the path comes up against a wall go inland down Kirtling Street and left into Cringle Street to return to the main road.

Turn right along the busy Battersea Park Road passing the other end of Kirtling Street (right) and the giant Bookers Wholesale (left).

Look out on the right for the gated Pump House Lane.

Pump House Lane gate

Go through the gate and follow the winding Pump House Lane through the Battersea Power Station construction site.

The road rises to run close to the south end of the power station where there is a very good view of the interior.

View from temporary path

Soon the road passes new shops (left) and reaches the river.

Bear left with the new building and restaurants to pass under the upstream Grosvenor Bridge carrying the Victoria railway line.

After a short distance the path is on a new platform as it goes under Chelsea Bridge to enter (beyond current gas pipe works) Battersea Park.

Battersea Power Station construction site
The urban view from the Thames Path at Battersea Power Station

Live Christmas broadcast from Fulham’s riverside church

The familiar All Saints Fulham tower from Putney Bridge

Christmas Morning Service on BBC1 is coming live from All Saints Church in Fulham.

It’s the church with the tower seen among the trees at the north end of Putney Bridge.

Its peal of bells was often rung when Elizabeth I was being rowed up or down the river between London and Richmond Palace.

The church retains a rural backdrop thanks to the once moated  Fulham Palace.

Walkers will also be familiar with St Mary’s Putney at the south end of the bridge where the Thames Path runs round the back.

The broadcast from All Saints starts at 10am.

Nine Elms Bridge opponents grow

US Embassy at Nine Elms

The GMB Southern region which is highlighting opposition to the Nine Elms Bridge plan has called on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to withhold support.

The cycle and foot crossing would cost around £100m according to opponents.

The union statement follows a written reply by Sadiq Khan to a question in the London Assembly.

The unpopular proposed bridge would be opposite the already controversial new US Embassy at Nine Elms.

One issue is how much attractive open water should be covered by new crossings. This was a major objection to the Garden Bridge at Waterloo which failed to win local support.

The GMB claims that the following now oppose the major landscape change at Nine Elms:

Leonie Cooper, London Assembly member for Wandsworth

Tony Devenish, London Assembly member for Westminster

Sian Berry, Green leader London Assembly

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of Lib Dems of London Assembly

Westminster Labour Group

Wandsworth Labour Group

Westminster Conservative Party

Battersea Labour Party

North Battersea Alliance against the Bridge

Pimlico Alliance

Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea

Rosena Alin Khan, MP for Tooting

Ibrahim Dogus, former parliamentary candidate for Westminster South

Mark Field, MP for Westminster South

From the Sea to the Source