The Thames Path - a beautiful towpath walk from Newbridge into Oxford City in England.

Newbridge mediaeval bridge over The Thames at Newbridge, Oxfordshire, England.

The Thames Path from Newbridge walking via Northmoor Paddle and Rymer Weir, Pinkhill Lock, Swinford and Kings Lock and Weir into Oxford.


This particular starting point of The Thames Path at Newbridge in Oxfordshire is easily located in one of the most beautiful spots in it's and the River Thames entire journey. The really old buildings which make up the Rose Revived Public House are excellent to look at and then draped with large Yew trees of course there is the beautiful Newbridge Bridge itself. The Thames Path goes between the outside eating area belonging to the pub and then soon gets itself out into quite open countryside. The River Thames is quite well behaved by it's standards as far as bending about is concerned and generally takes a slow left hand route mostly bordered by fields before straightening out as it gets nearer to Northmoor Lock. Underfoot the path is not too muddy even after wet weather - however the fields are often used for grazing so there are the usual abundance of cow-pats in places - reasonable footwear is best for this section. Also it is worth carrying a walking pole or stick - the calves tend to be quite inquisitive and can start to move towards you en masse - they would not harm you (such as in the case of a fully grown bull) but calves or not they are very bulky. A walking pole waved at them does discourage them usually.

Northmoor Lock next to The Thames Path in Oxfordshire, England.Northmoor weir featuring it's now unique paddle and rymer sluice controls - England.

Northmoor Lock and it's Paddle and Rymer Weir.

This River Thames Lock is yet again really beautifully maintained by the lock-keeper - set amongst trees and with lots of grass areas it is just right for a lunch or picnic break - however there are no actual picnic tables beside the lock - just one very long wooden seat. The weir at Northmoor Lock is now almost unique amongst all of the River Thames numerous weirs in that the sluices are currently controlled by paddles and rymers. Unforgiveably the Environmental Agency want to remove these unique river controls and replace it all with modern concrete based sluices. This just should NOT BE ALLOWED to happen - it is NOT their weir - they are just looking after it. If you agree that Governments and so on should not just tread haphazardly over our heritage and for more information please take a look at this site and it's petitiion.

It is possible to walk onto and over Northmoor's Paddle and Rymer weir and see the paddles in action - all very interesting. The Thames Path and of course the river itself now continue off towards Bablock Hythe - basically taking a very slow lefthand bend in the process. Bordered by fields the path is in very good condition for walking although in places you need to watch out for cow-pats!.

At Bablock Hythe the towpath switches sides and because there is no longer a ferry crossing available the Thames Path has to go out across country for a while - this route is well signposted. Shortly after rejoining the river the path reaches and crosses Pinkhill Weir and then arrives at Pinkhil Lock where the towpath changes sides.Swinford Toll Bridge on The Thames Path in England. Pinkhill Lock is very nicely presented with lovely well-planted gardens and several seats. From here the Thames Path continues alongside the river but a little way along the path diverts up to a road - only a few 100 yards later the path returns back to the river bank on the far side of a boatyard. Meandering along as is usual with The Thames and with water meadows on the right (which always seem to be boggy even during dry Summers), Swinford Bridge soon comes into view - this Bridge is still a Toll Bridge. Just past the bridge the path soon arrives at Eynsham Lock - another well kept lock with plenty of picnic and bench seats. You can walk across the lock and take a look at and walk onto Eynsham Lock's weir which is named Swinford Weir if you wish since a public footpath goes over the weir and heads off to Eynsham.
Once past Swinford the Thames Path and the river are bordered by quite high shrubs and foliage for a while before coming out into really open countryside. It then takes several huge curves and The Thames is also joined by the River Evenlode although it's somewhat hard to see apart from a dilapidated sign on the far bank. Some way along as the path gets close to Kings Lock a weir stream leaves The Thames on it's opposite side which provides a navigable channel to Dukes Cut and thereafter a connection with the nearbye Oxford Canal.

Kings Lock on the River Thames near Oxford, England.

Kings Lock is yet another example of one of The River Thames beautifully kept locks and surroundings.

The gardens are immaculate and you can wander around them - there are also several bench seats around if you want to just sit back and enjoy a little peace and quiet. The lock's gardens have several small individual patches of shrub surrounded grassy areas which can be used for camping. Cross over the lock and if you take the path on the left you can walk along to take another look at the weir stream and Duke's Cut. To take a look at the weir then instead go left on another path - a weir has been present here since at least the 16th century and is definitely worth looking at.
Having passed the lock the Thames creates some excellent mini loops and generally the path follows this meandering however you can just walk along the lock access road in a more direct fashion as far as the A34 bridge. Once under the bridge you then reach Godstow Bridge - the old twin arched bridge is to the left but the river navigation path goes under the newer bridge. Just to the left of the bridge there is a Public House call the Trout Inn and a little further along the road a public car park. Continuing on the Thames Path just before passing Godstow weir and lock look at the ruins of Godstow Abbey on the right - although little remains of the 12th century nunnery founded by Evida - the nunnery became very prosperous and owned land in more than 17 counties. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 and later destroyed by Fairfax during the Civil War. The outer wall and part of St Leonard's two storey domestic chapel which is now minus a roof are all that remains inside the walls. The Trout Inn is the best surviving part of the original Abbey - it was built in 1138 as a hospice.

Godstow Priory beside The Thames north of Oxford, England.The next two miles along The Thames Path take you through Port Meadow - although a busy area with people walking and picnicking plus with the river itself fairly busy as it is popular with the college's rowing clubs as well as pleasure craft the meadow is so large that it remains basically peaceful. The meadows are common land and were presented to the Berger's of Oxford as free common by William the Conqueror which is why there are still plenty of cattle grazing. Incidentally because of the many free ranging cattle you do need to keep an eye out on just where you step at times. The meadows can be quite soggy in places and they extend some distance out from the River Thame's banks in both directions - the spires and domes of Oxford City come into view although the Thames does not actually go through the centre. At Medley Footbridge the Thames Path switches sides and another footbridge is reached shortly after that - here you could cross the bridge and the meadow at the far side of which there is a small pay and display car park.

Continuing along the Thames you soon reach Sheep Wash channel which is where there is another connection for boats to The Oxford Canal Isis Lock (the channel comes out quite close to the lock). The Thames Path itself continues alongside the river to Osney Bridge (which is very close to Oxford's railway station from where there are also bus connections). The path skirts the city and little of Oxford's buildings can be seen but there are still some nice old river-side buildings including disused mills to look at on the way.

The Thames with Sheepwash Channel going off to the right under a footbridgeOld warehouses now refurbished alongside The Thames in Oxford The first picture is The River Thames with Sheepwash Channel leaving on the right and the picture on the right is of Osney warehouses making nice reflections on the Thames.
Having walked past Osney Lock and Weir the well-surfaced path curves round through parkland to eventually arrive near some terraced houses and then gets too Folly Bridge - you are now within easy walking distance of the centre of Oxford City. You cannot walk under Folly Bridge but have to cross the road and then walk back down onto the Thames Path - Christ Church Meadow is now across the river i.e. on the left and you can also see some of Oxford's college buildings behind the Meadows.

Information about the next section of the Thames Path can be found on our Thames Path Abingdon and Culham walk topic.

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. .
Via our Site Resources find links to more items about England - canals include The Oxford Canal, The Grand Union Canal, The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Regents Canal, the River Lee Navigation and The River Stort and The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. Also items on British Wild Flowers and English Churches.
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External Link: visit Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide for excellent info about this part of The Thames.