|Abingdon: Explore the new and historic routes of the Wilts & Berks Canal|
Start at Margaret Brown Gardens on the Thames (formerly the Canal Company Wharf ) at the end of the Wilts & Berks Canal historic route
Use the south (downstream) exit and cross the road. The old stone wall to the right of ‘Wharf Close' was once part of the final lock which lowered canal boats into the Thames. Walk past converted foundry buildings on your right and turn left on entering Caldecott Road. The canal terminal basin was once between the twin hedges on your left (south of Caldecott Road). Go through the gap in the railings and walk (west) on grass where narrowboats once stopped.
The canal route continued from Hermitage Road to beyond B4017. The long avenue of trees was alongside the towpath and the wide green road margin was once canal (now filled in). At B4017 turn right and use a controlled crossing into the park and follow the river Ock upstream into the countryside. A final crossing of the Ock leads into Mill Lane just before the weir at New Cut Mill.
Now choose to turn left to return parallel to the historic canal route, or turn right to seek the new route.
The historic route is south of the Ock. They both come under a low A34 bridge to the weir at New Cut Mill. To return to Abingdon turn left along Mill Lane, and up into a residential street ‘Mill Road' to a mini roundabout on B4017. Cross carefully, turn left to the next junction and into Caldecott Road. Return to the old Canal Company Wharf.
The new route is much further south.
For now, turn left along B4017 towards Abingdon, then right into Stonehill Lane and downhill past the end of the ‘First kilometre' to Sustrans cycle track :- Peep-O-Day Lane. Turn left (north) along Peep-O-Day Lane until on the right you will see the new towpath (2006) leading to our Jubilee Junction on the Thames
From the Junction follow the riverbank upstream to a Vale of White Horse District Council picnic site or return to Peep-O-Day Lane. Follow South Quay and West Quay round Abingdon Marina, north to the old Canal Company Wharf via the Sustrans Route past partial barriers into Walsham Road, past the Sailing Club, alongside river moorings, past Wharf Close on the left and return into Margaret Brown Gardens.. the old Canal Company Wharf on the Thames.
A shorter walk returns to (point 1 on the map) by using the signposted Ock Valley River Walk. From Hermitage Road go to the end (past house numbers 3,7,23 and 41) into a pathway leading to a grassed area. Bear right, the path short of the footbridge is the Ock Valley River Walk and leads downstream between the quick flowing Ock and the slow mill stream to arrive back to St Helen's Churchyard, Almshouses and Wharf. Cross the Canal Company's cast iron bridge over the Ock to regain old Canal Company Wharf
For other walks see www.abingdonwalks.co.uk