Area closed around Shifford Lock Closure due to Fallen Trees

Due to public safety the EA have had to close the trail around Shifford Lock due extreme weather taking down hundreds of trees

Avoid the area until further notice (5/11/2021). For alternative routes  look at the larger scale map demonstrating the Public Rights of Way around Shifford Lock and follow other PRoW around the closure. (Note gap in network is minor road in Duxford be aware of Traffic!)

Temporary Closure for Tree Works between Leg O’ Mutton nature reserve and Hammersmith Bridge

From 8 to 19 November the Thames Path National Trail will be closed temporarily (Monday to Friday) between Leg O’ Mutton nature reserve and Hammersmith Bridge while Richmond Council carries out essential work to make several trees safe.

The diversion route for the Thames Path is via Lonsdale Road (accessed via public footpath from the Thames Path at Leg O’ Mutton reserve) and Castelnau, returning to the Thames Path at Hammersmith Bridge.

Richmond Council and the Port of London Authority are responsible for managing the trees on the towpath. The council carried out a detailed survey of trees on the section upstream of Hammersmith Bridge to the nature reserve. This showed that several trees are decaying and damaged. They need to be managed to maintain their health and longevity through pollarding and coppicing.

Further information from Richmond council.

New Boardwalk Abingdon

One of the muddiest sections of the Thames Path National Trail is now much easier to walk along, thanks to this smart new boardwalk.

Upstream from Abingdon the Path goes through woodland, which is often flooded in winter and rarely dries out in the summer.

The new boardwalk made from recycled materials by Hahn Plastics Ltd gives good grip and a sturdy walking surface across the worst of the mud.

Steve Tabbitt, Thames Path National Trail officer welcomes the new weather-resistant surface. ‘This section of the Path is low-lying and has been a problem for years, especially after the last few winter floods.

‘The Thames Path is very popular in Abingdon because it links with circular walks around Radley and makes a very pleasant route into Oxford. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get this job completed so that people will have easier walks this winter.’

This work has been jointly funded by a grant of £7,000 from the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE) Local Environment Fund, a contribution from Oxfordshire County Council, and funds received by the Thames Path National Trail.

Thames Path Happy 25th Anniversary Saturday 24 July 2021

The Thames Path National Trail, the 184-mile long-distance footpath from the source of the River Thames in Trewsbury Mead, Gloucestershire to the Thames Barrier in Woolwich, London, is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday 24 July

The Thames Path was named as one of the country’s long distance recreational routes in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949.

From 1973 the Ramblers and the River Thames Society worked together with local campaign groups negotiating with landowners and local authorities, and lobbying politicians to restore the old towing path from the days of barges on the River Thames.

The final section was opened and the Thames Path National Trail inaugurated at the Thames Barrier on 24 July 1996.

Since then, the Trail has been walked by millions of people and is frequently used for long-distance running and charity events.

In 2012 it featured in the opening sequence of the London 2012 Olympics, which inspired at least one walker to step out on the Trail and experience the variety of countryside and city landscapes.

Steve Good, chair of the Thames Path National Trail Partnership says: “The Trail is one of the most-loved long-distance routes in the country. Some people use it every day to get to work, and it’s a life-time’s goal for others to walk the entire length.

“I hope everyone who loves the Trail will share their favourite sections and places on social media, and inspire even more people to take their next steps along the Thames Path.”

Thames Path walkers are encouraged to share their favourite sections and places on the Thames Path via social media using #ThamesPath25 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Pictured at Marsh Lock on the River Thames near Henley are representatives of the organisations that set up the Thames Path National Trail.

From the left: Peter Finch chairman of the River Thames Society, Kate Ashbrook Vice President of the Ramblers and general secretary of Open Spaces Society, Des Garrahan former chair of the Ramblers and founder of Metropolitan Ramblers, Steve Tabbitt and Elaine Townson, Thames Path National Trail team.
Photo: Wendy Tobitt, Thames Path National Trail volunteer wendy.tobitt@btinternet.com

Thames Path National Trail social media:

Localised flooding around the upper reaches

Due to high rainfall over the past few weeks the upper reaches of the Thames and the Trail from Ashton Keynes to Cricklade may have localised flooding.

 

In the upper reaches – including Water Eaton, Castle Eaton and Cricklade (thanks for photo above taken by ‘Walk the Thames’ ) – prepare to come across some flooding and muddy sections. Do NOT attempt to walk through floodwater.

The Waterhay car park (called Waterhay for a reason) is very susceptible to flooding. Most of the year this makes a very accessible car park and picnic spot, with footpaths through to Ashton Keynes, North Meadow National Nature Reserve and Cricklade.

Location: Along the Ashton Keynes to Cricklade Road, next to the bridge across the River Thames.
Waterhay, Leigh, Swindon SN6 6QY, UK

May 26th 2021

Spring time walking the Thames Path

Keep your walking boots waterproofed for the next few weeks! Some parts of the Thames Path in the countryside are still wet although there hasn’t been any rain for days.

It’s been a wet winter with heavy rainfall from the autumn through to March, especially in the wide catchment area of the upper reaches of the Thames above Reading. This catchment area includes all the tributary rivers and streams that feed into the River Thames. Several of these rivers and the Thames itself flooded for weeks onto land that was already wet.

Fields and meadows beside the River Thames were saturated with water from rainfall before the river flooded onto them. Soil absorbs as much water as it can and then water sits on top, making a squelchy wet surface for walking, and it can take some time for the surface to dry out.

The aquifer that feeds the spring at the source of the River Thames, in Trewsbury Mead near the village of Coate in Gloucestershire, has been flowing well throughout the winter. This aquifer often dries out in the summer, but groundwater levels are likely to remain high this spring say hydrologists at the British Geological Survey in Wallingford. Their UK Hydrological Outlook forecasts river flows in south east England are likely to be normal to above normal in March. More information: http://hydoutuk.net/latest-outlook

Before you set out
• check the Flood warnings web page
• check the River Levels
• check if there are diversions you could make, in case you encounter very muddy or flooded routes

River levels are still  high along parts of the River Thames. Flooding of the Trail and low lying roads and land is possible.

Walkers are advised never  to attempt to walk through floodwater as it is not possible to see where the river bank starts.
Up-to-date information on Flooding 

Spring time is coming

Throughout this season prepare to come across some flooding and muddy sections

Before you set out
• check the Flood warnings web page
• check the River Levels
• check if there are diversions you could make, in case you encounter very muddy or flooded routes

River levels are still  high along parts of the River Thames. Flooding of the Trail and low lying roads and land is possible.

Walkers are advised never  to attempt to walk through floodwater as it is not possible to see where the river bank starts.
Up-to-date information on Flooding 

Due to increased footfall along the Trail there may be areas of churned up mud especially around gates or where cattle have gathered.

 

Repairs to the Thames Path National Trail summer 2020

Throughout the year repairs are required to the Trail. There are erosion issues as the riverbank is worn by the Thames, or surfaces needing to be replaced after they have worn and become difficult for  Trail walkers. See the gallery for photos of Trail repairs at Radley, Benson and Streatley undertaken through summer 2020.

Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails Volunteers receive the Queen’ s Award for Voluntary Service

Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails volunteers, a group of volunteers hosted by Oxfordshire County Council, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

\The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. The MBE for Volunteer Groups
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The MBE for Volunteer Groups

The National Trail Volunteers help to maintain, enhance and promote the 2 Trails. The Thames Path starts at the source of the Thames, near Kemble Gloucestershire and follows the river 184 miles to the Thames Barrier Greenwich. The Ridgeway runs for 87miles from Overton Hill near Avebury to Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire.

The volunteers keep the public informed and engaged through social media, help in the office, monitor sections of the Trails reporting back any issues, through to working in all weathers maintaining our National Trail standards. Every week throughout the year volunteer work parties install signs, repair gates, cut grass and clear scrub, to name but a few tasks. Volunteers come from towns and villages along the trails, and further afield.

Everyone has a passion to help keep the trails open for the local communities as well as national and international tourists, which in turn helps attract more visitors to the many pubs, cafes and tourist destinations the Trails have to offer.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. Award winners this year are wonderfully diverse. They include volunteer groups from across the UK, including a community shop in Cornwall, a group working with refugees and vulnerable people in Stirling and our very own National Trail Volunteers.

Chairman of the Thames Path National Trail’s Partnership and volunteer, West Oxfordshire Councillor Stephen Good said: ‘I’m delighted that our group’s work has been recognised, it pays tribute to all the hard work and commitment from our volunteers’.

Representatives of the National Trails will receive the award from Tim Stevenson OBE., Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year Award.

Dr Mayon-White, a National Trails Volunteer, said:

‘We’re out in all weathers looking after the Thames and Ridgeway because we love the countryside and enjoy making these National Trails easier for everyone to enjoy them. It’s a great honour to be recognised with the Queen’s Award, for doing something that we enjoy so much and is valued by everyone using the Trails. Many of us are in our retirement years, but that doesn’t stop us from taking on tasks such as online mapping and social media, making and putting in fingerposts and installing gates.’

Marian Spain, Natural England’s Chief Executive and a regular user of The Ridgeway, said: ‘I am delighted to see this prestigious award go to the dedicated volunteers on the Thames Path and Ridgeway. Not only do they play a significant role in maintaining the quality of the trail, but the volunteer group also provides many people with an opportunity to connect with nature whilst walking on the paths. Living close to The Ridgeway I can vouch for just how well cared for this Trail is and how valued it is by locals and visitors alike.’

Visit The Queens’s Award  for further details.
To learn more about the Thames Path and Ridgeway National Trails and volunteering opportunities visit https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/ and click on the links to find each of the Trails.

Follow us : @ThamesPathNT

Covid-19 and Walking on the Thames Path

We hope you will enjoy walking the Thames Path, so please follow the Government guidance given on our main page https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/en_GB/trails/thames-path/

Also when you’re out and about, do remember the Countryside Code 

Follow @ThamesPathNT on Twitter and Facebook for news from the Trail, and share your photos and stories.

Only travel to the Thames Path if you haven’t got suitable places to enjoy closer to home. Usually we would welcome lots of visitors, but social distancing reduces the numbers of people that car parks and the Trail can accommodate.

The Thames Path National Trail is very narrow in many places, even in towns, which makes it difficult for people to stay safely 2m apart from others.

If you’re walking, running or cycling (where permitted) on the Thames Path, please be considerate of other users and take the required action to maintain 2m distance from people as you pass each other.

Do not congregate around gates and areas where boats are moored. Please be respectful of boat users. If you’re on a towpath or beside moorings then you’re probably within 2m of the people living on the boats.

The Canal and River Trust has issued useful advice for boaters and people using towpaths,

Environment Agency updates

Here’s advice from London’s Parks and Green Spaces

Consider waiting to visit popular beauty spots until after restrictions have eased. Be considerate of local residents and farmers, they’re also having to keep to government guidelines.

We’ve had to put on hold the Thames Path National Trail volunteer scheme. This means that our volunteers are not able to monitor all 184 miles of the Trail to report on safety issues including obstructions, erosion, damaged signs, fallen trees.

If you spot anything that would be a risk to the safety of people using the Path, please report the location, giving OS coordinates if possible, to Thames.Path@oxfordshire.gov.uk and we will do our best to work with partner Highway Authorities, the Environment Agency and landowners to resolve the problem.

We and our contractors are catching up with mowing and managing the riverside vegetation, so please take extra care if you meet people working on the Path, thank you.
The Thames Path National Trail will still be here for you to enjoy after the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Stay apart – Act responsibly – Save lives

Follow @ThamesPathNT on Twitter and Facebook for news from the Trail, and share your photos and stories.