Thames Path to Buscot


Toward the source, the Thames Path isn't easily accessible by public transport; instead of walking it in individual sections, we did the last three days in one go, staying in intermediate places. Mum, Dad, and I came along. This page is about the first day.

Hinton Waldrist

We started by getting a train to Oxford and a bus to a silly-named place called Hinton Waldrist which we'd visited previously. The day was cold but sunny.

Huge thatched house in Hinton Waldrist.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′20″N 1°27′28″W

A road from Hinton Waldrist leads to Duxford, an even smaller village which is on a Thames backwater.

Road to Duxford.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′24″N 1°27′30″W
Tree at corner of road; ice in puddle.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′25″N 1°27′30″W


The boarded-up thatched cottage that surprised us last time.
1/400 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′49″N 1°28′5″W

At Duxford there is, unsurprisingly, a ford across the river. It's only really passable on horseback - the depth indicator showed 90 centimetres, higher than last time we'd visited. Our path, instead, ran along the side of the backwater.

Marker posts indicating the line of the ford.
1/320 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′54″N 1°27′58″W

It's probably possible to cheat by walking along the side of a field instead, but we followed the actual riverside path, or scrambled above it where it was actually flooded. Nobody fell in the river, but there were a few close calls.

Looking back across the river.
1/400 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′18″N 1°27′48″W

We crossed a footbridge and joined the main Thames by Duxford Lock. After that, we were following the official (maintained, waymarked) Thames Path for the rest of the day.

Thames Path from Duxford Lock

Doll in tree.
1/125 at f4, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′25″N 1°27′51″W
Sign by bridge.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′17″N 1°28′13″W

On a recent canal walk we'd seen many World War 2 pillboxes, but this section of the Thames was competing strongly for pillbox-count. I didn't actually count them, but there were loads.

This is the only one you're not supposed to tie a boat to.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′3″N 1°29′0″W
Black plastic pipe.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′47″N 1°29′44″W
Another pillbox, this one slightly crumbly.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′51″N 1°29′49″W
Gas canister in river.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′56″N 1°30′25″W

We were just in time for lunch at a pub called The Trout Inn (they're all called that) by Tadpole Bridge. There's no actual place there, just a bridge and a pub.

The bridge doesn't look particularly tadpoley.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′5″N 1°31′2″W

Thames Path from Rushey Lock

Rushey Lock weir was described in the guidebook as one of the last on the Thames to still use the manual paddle-and-rymer construction. Well, it might not be any more, because they're rebuilding it. As we approached, we began to hear the repeated sound of a piledriver. The Thames Path usually runs across the weir, but it was diverted over a temporary floating bridge.

Asbestos-roofed building by lock.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′54″N 1°32′4″W
Looking back from the floating bridge at the source of all the noise.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′54″N 1°32′7″W

The noise of the piledriver stayed with us for most of the rest of the afternoon. At some points you could hear it echoing off distant hills, which was interesting, but the walk - through riverside meadows - might have been a little more peaceful without it. (I'm usually in favour of repetitive beats, but there's a limit.)

Low branch.
1/125 at f16, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′4″N 1°32′19″W
Large tree.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′5″N 1°32′22″W
Hunchback tree.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′8″N 1°32′40″W
Pillbox across the river.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°42′3″N 1°33′6″W
Me on a very narrow footbridge (that we didn't actually need to cross).
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′58″N 1°34′5″W

Thames Path from Radcot

We passed a town called Radcot, without stopping at its pub (which I think was the Swan; it was a rare exception from the all-trout rule).

Landing stage.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′38″N 1°35′5″W
Radcot bridge (nice shape).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′36″N 1°35′21″W
Nice tree opposite.
1/320 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′23″N 1°35′43″W
From inside one of the pillboxes that wasn't bricked up.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′24″N 1°36′6″W
Same pillbox from outside.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′24″N 1°36′5″W
Parking your boat in the actual river? So last year.
1/500 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′27″N 1°36′11″W
Another pillbox (with nice tree).
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′2″N 1°37′42″W
Flock of Canada geese.
1/1000 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′9″N 1°37′52″W


The next place was Kelmscott, which is largely a preserved estate (Kelmscott Manor, where William Morris lived; it was closed). We had a drink in the pub and then went to see the church.

Sundial on church.
1/1000 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′32″N 1°38′27″W
Church corner.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′33″N 1°38′27″W
Gutter and wire.
1/500 at f2.8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′33″N 1°38′27″W
Late sun on church.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′32″N 1°38′26″W
Grave shadows.
1/60 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′32″N 1°38′27″W
Nice shadow on roof.
1/200 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′21″N 1°38′22″W
Barn by entrance to the manor.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′17″N 1°38′16″W

Thames Path to Buscot

There was only a short distance by the river to Buscot, where we were staying (at Buscot Manor). Which was lucky, because sunset wasn't far off.

Inside yet another pillbox.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°41′10″N 1°38′24″W
Outside of a different pillbox.
1/250 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°40′50″N 1°39′43″W
Row of trees near Buscot; large bathtub.
1/125 at f8, 23mm, ISO200 51°40′54″N 1°39′50″W

That's about all the walking we did that day! Buscot's quite interesting, but I took more pictures around there on the next day (on account that it was light), so I'll say more about in in the next set.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.