The Thames Path

Northmoor to Tadpole Bridge

Northmoor to Tadpole Bridge
Upstream: Tadpole Bridge to lechladeBack to Main Page Downstream: Oxford to Northmoor

Introduction

This walk is the first on the Thames path that doesn't pass through any significant towns. Starting from Northmoor, just off the path it pases under Newbridge, in fact one of the oldest bridges on the Thames, dating from the 13th Century. Beyond Northmoor the path pases under a couple of footbridges and follows Shifford Lock Cut then on to Tadpole Bridge.

Getting to the Start

Northmoor is a small village and is reached by turning right off the A415 just after crossing Newbridge into Moreton Lane. By Stonehenge Farm follow the road round to the left and you emerge onto Standlake Road at the west edge of Northmoor, so turn right into the village. Limited on-street parking is available in the village. If you do drive to the start however the public transport back to Northmoor is poor.

By bus, Stagecoach Oxford service 18 serves Northmoor, although the service is infrequent as, at the time of writing, only 5 buses from Oxford stop there (Monday - Saturday only), and the first of those is not until 12:05. A better alternative, which started in July 2004 (after I walked this part of the path), is the X15 service, operated by Thames Travel, which goes to nearby Newbridge (right on the path) every hour (Monday - Saturday) and also serves Witney, Standlake, Kingston Bagpuize, Marcham, Abingdon, Culham, Clifton Hampden, Burcot, Berinsfield, Dorchester, Shillingford and Wallingford.

The Walk

Northmoor is a lovely village with pretty thatched cottages and an attractive church. To re-join the Thames Path go through the village on the road towards Bablockhythe and after passing Chapel Lane on the left take the next track on the right (signed as a footpath). Follow this track for a little under a mile and after crossing the stile at the end of the track you come into a field beside the Thames where you re-join the path. Once you get to the path turn right passing under the power lines to get to Northmoor Lock with it's manual lock gates.

Northmoor Lock The weir at Northmoor Lock
Northmoor Lock The weir at Northmoor Lock

Beyond the lock you are walking through meadows beside the Thames once more. Across the river there are a few houses beside the river, on the edge of the village of Appleton. Soon you come to the wooden footbridge that carries another foot path over the river to Netherton.

The footbridge
The footbridge carrying the path to Netherton

Soon you come to a path on the right that turns off towards Stonehenge Farm, but continue on the path beside the river where you come to the beautiful Newbridge, rather wrongly named since it is in fact one of the oldest bridges over the Thames as it dates from 1250! Here, despite being a remote spot, you'll find a choice of two pubs where you can stop for a well-deserved drink, the Rose Revived and The Maybush and you can even hire a boat!

Newbridge Newbridge
Newbridge Newbridge

The path crosses to the other bank at Newbridge and beyond the bridge returns to pleasant meadows once more. In places the erosion of the banks is clear to see, as can be seen from the first photo below.

Erosion of the banks Meadows beside the Thames
Erosion of the banks Meadows beside the Thames

Soon as you come closer to the power lines, you can see the edge of the village of Shifford on the opposite bank of the river. Soon after passing Shifford you come to a weir where the river was cut to create a straighter navigational channel, so the natural course of the river goes of to the left, whilst the path crosses the river and continues next to the cut.

Shifford The weir at the start of Shifford Cut
Shifford The weir at the start of Shifford Cut

Around half way along the cut the path crosses to the opposite bank over a wooden bridge. Soon the danger sign to the right marks the point where the original course of the river and the artificial cut converge.

The wooden bridge The Thames and cut converge
The wooden bridge The Thames and Shifford Cut converge

Beyond the cut the path continues on the north side of the river through beautiful and peaceful countryside, with only the occasional boat passing along the river. Soon you come to another wooden footbridge (this one taller), this is Tenfoot Bridge which carries another footpath towards Duxford, although the Thames path stays on the same bank of the river.

The Thames near Shifford Cut Tenfoot Bridge
The Thames near Shifford Cut Tenfoot Bridge

Beyond this footbridge tall trees line the opposite banks and it's a relaxing sound to hear the leaves on the trees blowing in the wind and casting welcome shade on the path.

Tall trees beside the Thames near Tadpole Bridge
Tall trees beside the Thames near Tadpole Bridge

Soon the attractive stone Tadpole Bridge can be seen ahead, often with boats moored by the banks. Here is another pub, The Trout Inn, providing welcome refreshment at the end of the walk. Be warned however that there is no public transport from the bridge (for details of nearby bus services, see below).

Tadpole Bridge ahead Tadpole Bridge
Tadpole Bridge Tadpole Bridge
The Trout Inn
The Trout Inn

Soon the attractive stone Tadpole Bridge can be seen ahead, often with boats moored by the banks. Here is another pub, The Trout Inn, providing welcome refreshment at the end of the walk. Be warned however that there is no public transport from the bridge (for details of nearby bus services, see below).

Getting Back

There is no regular bus service crossing the bridge, so the options for getting back are either to catch a bus from one of the nearby villages back to Oxford or to Swindon, or a taxi (the Tadpole Inn should have details of local companies). For a bus back to Oxford you have a choice of walking to Bampton, to the north or Buckland to the south. Both are around 2 miles away. From Bampton Stagecoach Oxford service 18 runs a little less often than hourly (Monday - Saturday) to Oxford taking around an hour. Some of the buses also go to Northmoor, but the last service from Bampton to Northmoor at the time of writing (Autumn 2004) leaves at 12:07pm! The last bus is early on this route however and you also sometimes have to change buses on the way, so do check the times first. .

Another option is to head south to Buckland around 2 miles away. The buses depart from Buckland Turn on the main road to the south of the village. Stagecoach Swindon service 66 runs hourly from Buckland Turn Monday - Saturday and once every 2 hours to Oxford in one direction and Swindon in the other although check the times of the last bus on this route too.

Links

The following web sites provide information on the area.


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