A Travellerspoint blog

Oxfordshire walk

Nuneham Courtenay to Abingdon Lock

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Today Mum and I did one of the 9 stages of the Oxford Green Belt Way Walk. I've forgotten whether it was Stage 2 or 3 but it was from Nuneham Courtenay to Abingdon Lock.The reason for doing this walk is because Dad had been very keen to do it (a lot of family history from Dad's side is connected to Oxford and its surroundings) but didn't manage to do any of the stages before he got too ill, so now we are doing them for him. Mum is going to gradually complete all 9 stages; I was still in Ecuador when she and several others did the previous stage together, so now that I was back in the UK I really wanted to do the next one with her.

Instead of using the motorway, we decided to travel to Oxford the original way. This meant going through Berkhamstead High Street, past all the old coaching inns, before following A-roads past Tring, Aylesbury and Thame. As we went past Thame we kept our eyes out for pigs, but we didn't see any. There always used to be a pig farm there and because the pigs had little metal shelters set up for them, on both sides of the road, Mum said it used to feel like she was driving through a pig village.

We were lucky with the weather because apart from a shower shortly after we had begun the walk, the sun shone all the way through.


Although we were very tired by the time we reached the end, we enjoyed the walk a lot. It took us about three hours because we got distracted so often! We picked and ate loads of very sweet, ripe and juicy blackberries from the hedgerows; looked at deeply engraved, old-looking graffiti on a bridge over a railway; spotted some swallows and red kites; stopped for a drink and a snack at the point where we first met the River Thames; and were asked for directions from two French girls who were dressed in exceedingly peculiar cycling clothes. As we walked along the side of the Thames I hoped to see a kingfisher, but had no luck.


Once we reached our final destination, Abingdon Lock, we looked round it a bit - at the list of lock keepers going back to the 18th century, for example - before crossing the weir and beating a path to the nearest supermarket, our best bet for a taxi back to Nuneham Courtenay.


We were desperate for one because by now our legs felt like they were going to drop off any minute. Waitrose came to our rescue. The traffic was terrible, so the journey ended up being extremely expensive for how relatively short it was. The driver had no card machine but when Mum and I clubbed together all the cash we had on us we were still a pound short - luckily he kindly let us off it.

After a reviving hot drink at a nearby restaurant bar we carried on to the Bear & Ragged Staff, our accommodation for the night. This is in Cumnor, another village near to Oxford. Several decades ago my great-grandfather built his own house here, as well as a house for my grandparents after they got married. The Bear & Ragged Staff is pub/ restaurant/ hotel within one very historic and atmospheric building and a newer extension wing. Our room was in the old part which we were pleased about. We had dinner downstairs, but before that happened I was delighted to hear church bell peals in the distance. I really like that sound and since the bells sound different in Ecuador I hadn't heard it in ages.

Posted by 3Traveller 08:26 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged bridges birds united_kingdom hotel mum british_countryside

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