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By: Florence Lawrence

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Tuesday, 30-May-2006 08:49 Email | Share | | Bookmark
From tadpole bridge

Monday paddle to Northmore Lock.
21 miles Tadpole bridge. c1789.

Canoe centre right bank just above the bridge. Trout Inn right bank below bridge. Land on R. bank below the bridge. Buckland Marsh, Nr Faringdon, Oxon SN7 8RF Tel: 01367 870382 Click here. Camping along the bank. For the most secluded spot paddle 100 yards downstream and land right.

22.75 – Tenfoot bridge
Constructed entirely of wood.

24 miles - Shifford lock cut left.

24.75 miles - Footbridge.
Wood encased steel on concrete piles

24.5 miles - Shifford Lock
Just below the lock the original course of the river enters right. You can paddle back up this original stream about half a mile to Duxford ford (is that a tautology?), a lovely spot for a picnic.
Camping in Duxford. JW Florey. Badgers bank. Duxford. 01865 820248

27.5 miles – River Windrush joins left. Newbridge c1250.
Two famous pubs here. The Rose Revived left. Maybush Inn right.
Land 100 yards downstream on left at Cokethorpe school canoe club landing stage
28 miles - Hart's weir footbridge. Site of another of the long gone Thames flash locks.
29.5 miles - Northmoor lock
Camping in the field. Cold water tap only. c/o West Farm, Eaton, Nr Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5PR Tel: 01865 862908

Sunday, 28-May-2006 08:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
On The Thames Sun paddle to Tadpole Bridge

Sun paddle to Tadpole Bridge (camp along bank at the Trout Inn).

11.5 miles - St John’s Lock built 1790
If you’ve forgotten to get a permit buy one here. The lock keepers are perfectly happy for you to do this.

St John’s bridge 1886
The first bridge here built in 1229, was one of the earliest stone bridges to cross the Thames. A new bridge built in 1790 had to be completely rebuilt in 1879.
The first of many Trout Inns left. Friday night jazz.
Easiest landing is 50 yards back up the weir stream. Slipway just within side channel leads into field downstream from the pub. Camping here. Ask at the Trout Inn.
Alternative camping across the road at St John’s Priory Parks, Caravan Park Faringdon Road. Lechlade, Glos. GL7 3EZ Tel 01367 252360.

Bloomers Hole footbridge 2000.
100 yards downstream.
Defensive Pill box left bank. Many more to come.
The second line of defence against a German invasion in 1941. Liberty still has to be fought for. Bombers and transporters fly into RAF Brize Norton from Kosovo, Afghanistan or Iraq most days. Look out for the high tailfins and four tail engines of the VC10.

The VC10 reminds us of the harm of government intervention in commercial decisions. Ministry planners assumed that the main VC10 customer would be BOAC the nationalised predecessor to British Airways, and specified engines sufficiently powerful to enable a full plane to take of from Nairobi airport at 5,000 feet. This enabled a generation of British tourists to fly to East Africa, but was wastefully overpowered for most commercial routes of the time. Fortunately for the environment but less so for Vickers the manufacturers, the world's airlines sensibly brought more economical Boeing 707's instead. Only 54 VC10s were produced. Boeing was relatively free from government interference and eventually sold 1,010 707s.
12.5 miles - Buscot lock
Some functionary from the Health and Safety branch of the Nanny State has been active here. Enjoy the ankle level "Beware of mole holes" sign. Look out for "Beware of low signs" next year!

June 2005 update. This sort of nonsense is likely to get worse. The Environment Agency has recently opened its Thames Waterway Plan for consultation. Click here for details. As a taster, let me quote from "Area Aspiration O-934" for Lechlade: "Encourage locals to walk more and therefore benefit their health; encourage more people to visit and to spend in the Thames corridor; spread the impact of visitors away from honeypot areas." It's bad enough when the NHS tries to stop you smoking, but why is the Environment Agency herding us towards the Thames and spreading us evenly along it. Here's an environmental prediction that, in contrast to Greenpeace's (Click here) really will come true. Before I die (I'm 50 and my parents both lived to be 80, so let's say in the next 30 years) publicly funded bodies will have covered the entire length of the Thames Valley path in concrete or Tarmac.
13.75 miles - Eaton footbridge.
Wood-clad steel. The site of the last Thames flash lock which disappeared in 1938. Houseboats are moored in the backwater.
14.25 miles - Kelmscot village and Plough Inn left.
Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site. Field and tap for club members only. If you use it join the C & C club.
Kelmscott Manor (click here) was co-owned by William Morris the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement and the pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti from 1871. It is a lovely house. Click here to read Morris's own ruminations on it.
Morris was less lovely. He was an early example of the paternalist middle class socialists who preach against the very modernism from which they have benefited. He objected to railways, despite visiting Kelmscott Manor, his second home, via the Great Western. He complained that poor rural people did not care about their environment, and founded the Commons Preservation Society, a contradiction in terms if ever there was one.
He founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (click here) in 1877. They still appear to believe that every building which intellectuals think has artistic value should be preserved whether it can be put to any good use or not. Read his manifesto for them here together with some iGreen thoughts.
His socialist campaigns in which he objects to advertising, and the division of labour only demonstrated his ignorance of capitalism. His wallpaper company allegedly only sold items which he himself could make! This was 100 years after Adam Smith published the Wealth of Nations! Read two of his pamphlets here (Against advertising, News from Nowhere).
Were he alive today he would be against GM technology and for the building of state subsidised wind farms everywhere except his own back yard. He would surely oppose wallpaper, the main modern development for which he is presently remembered.
Perhaps I'm being harsh. After all he is dead. To redress the balance click here to read a poem about Morris, by UA Fanthorpe.
16 miles - Grafton lock
Otters have recently returned to the river near here and we saw many kingfishers in 2003. The 2002 UK breeding bird survey reported that of the 105 species monitored since 1994, 29 had declined, but 52 had increased. Kingfishers had increased by more than 50 per cent.
17 miles Radcot Bridge, 1787.
The river divides above the bridge (main channel left, but the right channel is easily navigable for canoes) so there are now two stone bridges at Radcot. The Old Bridge built in 1225 is now over the side stream. The newer bridge over the main river, was built in 1787. Tricky for power boats as the arch is narrow and the bend blind. The Swan hotel lawn left is a good place to watch them struggle through the bridge.

The old bridge was the site of a skirmish in 1387 between Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, a supporter of Richard II, and the

Here Oxford's hero, famous for his boar,
While clashing swords upon his target sound,
And showers of arrows from his breast rebound,
Prepared for worst of fates, undaunted stood,
And urged his heart into the rapid flood.
The waves in triumph bore him, and were proud
To sink beneath their honourable load.
Camping on the island. Ask at The Swan Hotel, Radcot Bridge, Faringdon, Oxon OX18 2SX Tel: 01367 810220.
There is a caravan site on the north bank, owned by the snooty “Caravan Club”, not to be confused with the cheap and cheerful "Camping and Caravanning" club. The former will not let non-members camp. But no matter, the island is cheaper and more fun.
17.5 miles - Radcot lock

17.75 miles – Old Man’s Bridge (foot) 1868

20.5 miles - Rushey Lock
Camping here. Toilet only. Tel: 01367 870218

Saturday, 27-May-2006 08:42 Email | Share | | Bookmark

Kayak trip upper Thames
Plan is to start 3.8 mile blow Cricklade (camp Fri night at Second Chance
Camp Site or arrive early Sat morning).

Sat take cars to end point (Northmore Lock) leave cars ferry back drivers.
Paddle to Lechlade (camp at Bridge House Campsite).

0.0 miles - Cricklade High Bridge
The Thames is a navigation from Cricklade but fortunately powered boats cannot easily get this far. Launch about ¼ mile below (GR 103939). From here to Inglesham Round House is shallow and weedy. Best in spring before the weeds grow too thick.

0.5 miles - A419 Bridge
0.9 miles - Eysey footbridge
1.8 miles - River Ray enters right
2 miles - Water Eaton footbridge
3.8 miles - Camping left bank. Access for canoes. Second Chance Caravan Park, Marston Meysey. Wiltshire. SN6 6SN. Tel. Edward Stroud 01285 810675

4.1 miles - Castle Eaton Bridge.
Red Lion pub in village R.

6.8 miles - Hannington Bridge
10 miles - junction of the derelict Thames and Severn canal and mouth of the river Colne Left.
10.1 miles - Inglesham Round House and footbridge. The normal limit of navigation for powered boats. Smaller ones can get about two miles higher.

10.5 miles - Ha’penny Bridge Lechlade built in 1792 by James Hollingworth
Old tollhouse on the right. Painting by Doug Myers. Click here for more
Originally a toll bridge J, the halfpenny charge for pedestrians was lifted in 1839. Now it's “free”, you pay whether you use it or not L.
Land right below the bridge for camping. Bridge House campsite. GL7 3AG. Tel Mr. R Cooper 01367 252348. Click here. The campsite is set one field back from the river but it’s an easy carry.

Friday, 26-May-2006 07:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kayak trip

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Doing a canoe camping trip on the upper Thames over the bank
holiday weekend. Bit nervous but should be fun
Plan is to start 3.8 mile blow Cricklade paddle to Northmore Lock. 29.5 miles -

Thursday, 4-May-2006 11:50 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Thursday eve back Home to see Mum, Dave and Hoochie

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