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Trail talk: The Thames Path- Bablock Hythe to Osney Bridge, Oxford

Bablock Hythe to Osney Bridge, Oxford, 10 miles

We had been allocated a kitchenette at the Churchill Hotel. Far more room than required so we had taken full advantage by not only having pack explosions, but suitcase explosions too. We slept well in a comfortable bed and there was no need for an early alarm as the earliest breakfast we had been offered was eight o’clock. The best I can say of it is that it was poor. Some got eaten, some did not. Such a momentous comedown from the Lamb yesterday. With our poor evening meal last night this has not been a good over nighter foodwise, even if the room has been more than adequate. On this type of lazy ‘slack-packing ‘holiday’ such things are important, especially for Mrs Three Points of the Compass who has only joined me on a longer trail provided certain luxuries are included. After snaffling some fruit for a simple lunch, it was back to said room to relocate suitcases for later collection and transfer. Somehow everything was repacked and it only took two laps of the room to gather up errant socks and chargers.

Easy walking for much of the day through grazing fields, meadows or on the towpath
There were many day walkers out for a Sunday walk and their, and my, day coincided with muddy paths in places following recent rain
Some lock keepers’ houses bear provenance
The small campsite at Pinkhill Lock
Ruined 16th century chapel in the remnants of the nunnery at Godstone. There is little else extant of this riverside Abbey beyond some curtain walls
Godstone Abbey was built 1139 and became a form of finishing school for the daughters of nobility. However it was rocked by scandal on occasion
I found the remnant shells of numerous freshwater mussels on one stretch of path. Illegal fishing? Birds? Or was it an otter’s lunch?
Ladies Eight at practice on the Thames. Beyond is the large Port Meadow. Ancient grazing land gifted to the people of Oxford by William the Conqueror

Expecting a hot day’s walking, I had factored in a couple of extra hours to allow for a slower pace, hydration halts and anything else. As it was, we kept a good pace and found ourselves approaching Oxford with about three hours to kill. The busy popular Perch pub made an ideal halt before battling like salmon through an increasing tide of people lining the Thames. It was great to see so much activity taking place, and it wasn’t just on the banks and wide paths. Boating, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and wild swimming were all popular.

A Sunday crowd has to share the wide grassy entry to Oxford with unconcerned bovines

Our accommodation for the next two nights is the Red Mullions Guest House on the city outskirts but still within the Oxford Ring Road so, yet again, we had transport to and from the trail. We were supposed to meet this at the pub nearest Osney Bridge. We wandered in, and promptly wandered out. Just a little further down the river, The Punter made a far preferable location to while away a little time. It had been a mostly undemanding day, but a good day’s walking nonetheless.

We are breaking our journey and taking tomorrow off to explore Oxford a little. A little on that walk tomorrow. Before then however, a short walk up the road this evening for a sit down fish and chips, possibly to be followed by an IPA somewhere.

Glass window at the riverside Punter pub

The Thames Path
The Thames Path: Kemble to Cricklade
The Thames Path: Cricklade to Lechlade
The Thames Path: Lechlade to Tadpole Bridge
The Thames Path: Tadpole Bridge to Bablock Hythe
A day off in Oxford
The Thames Path: Osney Bridge, Oxford to Abingdon
The Thames Path- Abingdon to Shillingford/Warborough
The Thames Path- Shillingford/Warborough to Goring

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