The Thames Path - from Abingdon to Culham.

Walking beside The Thames in Oxfordshire, England using The River Thames Path between Abingdon (via Sutton Bridge) and Culham Cut and Lock - 2.5 miles.

Parking at Abingdon - there is a quite a large car park just off the A415 right next to Abingdon's beautiful old Bridge - as at September 2014 car parking is free for the first two hours although you do have to display a ticket.
Abingdon Town Bridge crosses the River Thames Mill Stream using beautiful arches, England.The Thames Path from Abingdon Weir and Lock to Culham Lock is in fairly good condition for walking along as it's mostly grass and quite wide - it's bordered by fields and the farmers and land owners have left a wide strip unploughed\untouched.
From Abingdon Lock walk alongside the river with meadows on the left to fairly soon reach Abingdon Town Bridge. As a matter of interest a litttle way along the A415 heading out of the town just past the left-hand side car park there is a raised causeway (which is still used as a pavement) and this would take you along to Culham Old Bridge and the other end of Swift Ditch.)
On the Thames Path itself once under Abingdon Bridge there are several boathouses on the far side of the river where you can hire boats or take boat trips and you also have a good view of Abingdon's St. Helens Church.
Along the path for a while there are quite a few bench seats available - then the Thames Path goes via several gates and out into water meadows as it heads towards Culham. Generally the path here is quite walkable although these water meadows can become very muddy after heavy rain or of course flooded if the Thames has decided to go walkabout and burst over it's banks. Taking flood water is of course the purpose of having water meadows rather than the stupidity of covering them with houses, tarmac and concrete - thus forcing excess and flood water to go elsewhere!.

Culham Old Bridge just outside of Abingdon, EnglandAs the path gets to the far side of the meadows it reaches a clump of trees and shrubbery and The Thames Path goes over a wooden foot-bridge crossing Swift Ditch where you can see Old Culham Bridge. However a 100 yards or so before this footbridge on the left you can leave the Thames Path and go through the trees via a gap in the wire fence to reach one of the features along this short route - Culham Old Bridge. The old bridge goes over Swift Ditch which was the original navigational route of the Thames before it was diverted through Abingdon.

Culham Old Bridge is built of stone and was erected in the 1420s - the bridge is the site of a skirmish (the Battle of Culham Bridge) on the 11th January 1644 during the English Civil War between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. Having enjoyed looking at this old bridge if you go on over it the path takes you on the right of a house and out onto Culham Road - turn right past the house and shortly rejoin the Thames Path again. The Thames now takes one of it's regular large loops as it makes it's way to Culham Cut - easy to walk along this is a beautiful part of The Thames although at times there is so much foliage on the banks it's a hard to actually see the river. The open countryside ends when the path enters into quite heavy foliage and woodland - a lovely path to walk along which eventually arrives at a footbridge. By now The Thames itself has headed away towards Sutton Courtney and the Thames Path is actually going alongside Culham Cut. If you continue past the footbridge then Culham Lock is not too far away. However it is certainly worth crossing the footbridge - follow the path to soon arrive at the Thames itself and the start of Culham's excellent set of weirs at Sutton Pools on the edge of Sutton Courtney. Note that the path from the Cut over to the weirs goes over water meadows and may be too boggy or even flooded and therefore unuseable after heavy rain.
Part of Sutton Weirs and Pools - Oxfordshire Sutton Bridge near to Culham Cut in Oxfordshire, England. Having wandered around the weirs as an alternative to going back to the footbridge go back to where the weirs started and turn right and follow the River Thames as it loops round passing more views of the weirs and as it approaches Culham Lock there are great views of two more beautiful Thames Bridges the first of which is Sutton Bridge. Continue following the path which will take you back onto the road between the two bridges - turn left and over the bridge to be back on The Thames Path at Culham Lock. At the Lock there are several bench seats available for a quiet sit watching the boats go through - also during the Summer months (weekends) there is often as not a small kiosk which sells tea and cakes.

Right next to Culham Lock there is a fairly large car park which has always been free to park and as of May 2015 this remains the case. Buses do operate services between Wallingford and Abingdon which go via Culham but the bus stop is a bit of way from Culham Lock as it's up on the main road (see bus services 114 and 116) - the railway station at Culham is also way away from The River Thames. Incidentally this short stretch of the Thames Path might be best enjoyed by considering two somewhat longer and we think very nice walks. Please see instructions for these which are described on our Culham, Sutton Courtenay, Abingdon circular walk topic and on our Culham, Clifton Hampden, Abingdon circular walk.

The next section of the Path can be found on our Thames Path Culham Lock via Benson to Wallingford walk

Related items about The Thames Path:
Our The Thames Path towpath Walks in England Home Page lists all our topics about walking along the Thames Path from Lechlade through to the end of the Path at the Thames Barrage. .
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