Diamond Jubilee: Abingdon bun throwing

There is the big Diamond Jubilee event on the Thames in central London this Sunday 3 June 2012.

Upstream the Jubilee is being celebrated at Abingdon with an old custom at 6pm.

Buns will be thrown from the roof of County Hall in a custom dating back to at least 1761 when George III’s coronation was marked in this manner.

Last year it took just over 20 minutes for the Mayor of Abingdon and councillors to throw 4000 buns on Prince William’s wedding day.

Next Sunday there are even more buns – 6,000 or 100 for every year of the Queen’s reign.

The Throwing Buns cafe in Market Place is named after the tradition and is a good place to end or start a walk.


Beverley Hansford: Walking the wrong way?

Thanks to old friend and Thames expert Dieter Jebens I have been enjoying a new book about the Thames Path.

Novelist Beverley Hansford has written an account of walking the Thames Path end to end. The name is a pseudonym which is confusing because the author, real name Gordon, walked with his wife Joanna who gets an occasional mention.

They walk downstream and constantly express amazement at how many walkers are going the other way.

I have always thought that the Thames was so famous that it is best to walk from London, which we all know, to find out where the river comes from.

But it is interesting to read Gordon’s reaction to places and their experiences of doing the walk in stages using public transport to and from home each time -no overnight stays.

In London he chooses, rightly in my view, the south bank as the better route. The north side alternative was a last minute idea of the Countryside Commission. The south side, or right bank, has fewer roads with heavy traffic and of course the towpath west of Putney. He agrees that it is rural route well into the capital.

Beverley Hansford’s Thames book is With Rucksack and Bus Pass.

The novel, which I have yet to read, is called Julie.


Olympic Games closes Thames Path

Walkers are finding notices upstream of Windsor about diversions caused by the Olympic Games.

This is due to the proximity of the Olympic rowing course.

Until the end of November there is a diversion between Boveney Church and the turning to Dorney Court.

The present diversion along the north side of the rowing course is required because a temporary bridge is being built from Windsor Racecourse.

However, during the Olympic period there will be an even longer diversion yet to be announced.

After the Olympics the towpath will remain closed whilst the bridge is dismantled but the shorter diversion will come back into operation.

Harvey’s Thames map

I do of course always recommend the OS Pathfinder map at the end of each section.

It is not vital to have a map, there are OS maps in the guide, but some like to have the large scale map with them.

I must say that I am finding the new Harvey’s Thames Path map (£12.95) extremely satisfying. All the route is on one lightweight waterproof map.

Key pubs are marked and the locks which are a walker’s stages are prominent.

It’s a pleasure just to read at home when contemplating either the full trail or just an outing.

Sutton Courtenay manor garden open

The garden of the Manor House at Sutton Courtenay is open on Saturday afternoon 9 June.

The house was once home of David Astor who is buried behind George Orwell in the churchyard.

The garden was modelled by Norah Lindsey who lived at the house from during the first half of the 20th century and further improved by Brenda Colvin.

The garden opening, part of the National Gardens Scheme charity (the yellow book gardens), is 2-6pm; admission £5; child free.