Lunch at Surrey Docks Farm

I have just enjoyed Sunday lunch at Surrey Docks Farm where ten days ago Frizzante took over the cafe.

This is an Italian team who already do the catering at Hackney City Farm.

Arriving after 1pm I found that the roast was finished but two of us managed the last two fish pies. For pudding we had their lovely real Italian ice cream (2 scoops £2.50).

The atmosphere is as lovely and informal as before. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.

The Thames Path running through the farm is looking much better, more interesting plants and hedges, and at last gates at both ends.

See page 21.

Maidenhead path improvement at Bridge Gardens

There is good news of  a possible improvement ti the route at Maidenhead.

After crossing Maidenhead Bridge walkers turn right into Bridge Gardens but then find the way blocked by Bridge House.

Thanks to the persistence and local knowledge of East Berks Ramblers’ footpath secretary Margaret Bowdery  the Royal Borough has published plans for a long awaited riverside path in front of Bridge House.

At present walkers have to cross the busy Ray Mill Road twice.

There is a public consultation in progress.

See page 99.

Volunteer lock keepers call

Some of the lock staff you meet this summer will be local volunteers.

BBC South Today ran a piece on Thursday evening about the Environment Agency’s call for volunteer lock keepers on the Thames.

Seasonal help is not unknown but now the plan is not to pay those coming forward.

This does seem to be a foolish money saving exercise which does nothing to give us confidence about the future of lock and weir keepers.

Waterways operation manager Andrew Graham describes this as an exciting opportunity but the uniformed job needs training and a weekly commitment.

The Enviroment Agency’s chief executive is paid £195,000 a year.

St Peter’s Wallingford and nearby church tea parties

St Peter’s Church at Wallingford, with its candle snuffer spire, is the riverside landmark. Lawyer Sir William Blackstone is buried there. The key to the redundant but lovely building on the Thames Path can be borrowed from the Tourist Information Centre at the Town Hall in Market Place.

Meanwhile, the Churches Conservation Trust is hosting Midsummer Tea Parties at two nearby churches in June.

Both are across the river.

St Mary’s in the hamlet of Newnham Murren just south of Crowmarsh Gifford across Walingford Bridge has fundraising teas available on Saturday 18 June 3.30pm–5.30pm at next door Newnham Farm House.

Riverside St John the Baptist at Mongewell Park is holding its Tea Party the next day on Sunday 19 June, 2pm-4pm.

See pages 144 and 146 -147.