Binsey: The Perch to close for three months

Drop for a drink at The Perch if you are next on the Oxford’s Port Meadow towpath before Christmas.

The 17th-century thatched pub is going to close in the New Year and not reopen until Easter.

It has had lots of unexpected setbacks including being badly damaged by fire in 1977 and 2007. Earlier this year it was flooded.

But this is a planned closure.

“Although there will be a bigger dining area, people will still be free to sit by the fire with a pie and a pint,” says manager Martin Cooper.

Kemble line upgrade

The Princess Royal at Kemble Station
The Princess Royal at Kemble Station

The Princess Royal has officially opened the newly redoubled railway line from Kemble to Swindon.

This is an important transport link for those who will arrive at the station having completed the walk from London. The station is very handy for the Thames Source but in recent years many have had a long wait in the lovely station.

On Friday Her Royal Highness arrived at Kemble on a train at the early hour of 9am. There was plenty of Network Rail and First Great Western staff on the platform to greet the Princess and her husband Sir Tim Laurence.

“Now that work on the line is complete, passengers can look forward to fewer delays and reduced journey times in the future,” said Network Rail’s Western Route managing director Patrick Hallgate.

First Great Western’s managing director Mark Hopwood said: “This improvement work to the network infrastructure paves the way for faster, more reliable services.”

The project cost £45m.

Grand Designs: Marlow’s floating house

The latest Grand Designs on Channel 4 sees Kevin McCloud visit Marlow where a couple are struggling to build the first floating house by the River Thames.

The location is the lock island reached only by a footbridge .

The site faces south so the new building, replacing a single storey house, is not seen from the Thames Path which here is on the left bank and turning inland to avoid the lock ahead.

Marlow experienced severe flooding this year. Next time the house should rise with the water level.

The prototype being considered downstream at flood-hit Bourne End.



Magna Carta Island sold to Chinese

Richard Morrison writing in The Times today says that Magna Carta Island has this week been sold to a Chinese family .

The price is believed to be £3.95m.

The Thames island lies alongside Runnymede which has the Magna Carta monument. However, it is thought that the charter was probably sealed on the island with refreshments for the King and barons being provided by the convent on the Wraysbury bank.

The Queen has visited Magna Carta Island which has a house complete with a charter room.

Plans are being made to mark Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary on the banks of the River Thames next year.

George Clooney in Sonning

It appears that George Clooney and new wife Amal Alamuddin may have purchased Aberlash House on a Thames island at Sonning near Reading.

The 17th-century Aberlash House is usually known as Mill House because it was the home of the mill owner. Just before the First World War it was bought by Godfrey Phillimore, son of the international jurist Lord Phillimore. Later the family briefly worked the downstream mill at Shiplake.

Sonning Mill supplied flour for Huntley & Palmers at Reading.

The Bull Inn, where George Clooney was seen last Saturday, was originally a pilgrim lodging for those visiting the church which had the relics of St Sarik.

The Mill House is glimpsed, and let’s hope it will continue to be, from the towpath between the bridge and the lock.

Meantime hops harvested next to Thames Path

Hops growing in front of the O2.
Hops growing in front of the O2.


Hops are next to the drawdock.
Hops are next to the drawdock.

Hops are growing next to the Thames Path on the Greenwich Peninsula.

They have been planted by Greenwich’s Meantime Brewery which claims it to be “the first permanent hop farm in London in over 100 years”.

The harvesting, or hopping, gathered 9lbs of hop buds for the yet to be named brew being produced at Meantime’s Old Brewery in Greenwich.

The hops, growing just yards west of the Greenwich Meridian line, can be seen immediately downstream of the drawdock next to the O2.

Meantime claims that it is a permanent feature.