Easter Holiday closure dates

The Foodbank will be closed on Good Friday (29 March) and Easter Monday (1 April).

Jane’s Walk 2022 – Day 4

Our daughter Clare joins us with her friend Alannah and dog Layla. Another of Moses’s best friends, so there is much excitement and noise. Apart from a slight detour away from the Thames at the start, we soon join the river again and walk through wide fields full of livestock, both cattle and sheep. I imagine these fields cannot be farmed for crops because of potential flooding, hence the animals. We watch with amusement as Tom and Alannah, deep in conversation, oblivious of their surroundings, walk towards a massive recumbent bull in the centre of a herd of cows. With some shouting, we managed to catch their attention, and they changed their direction of travel!

I began wondering who created this 184 miles of public footpath between the river’s source and its end. Someone must have had the inspiration and drive to create its inception. Having consulted Google when I got home, I find I am right. David Sharp, a volunteer of the Ramblers Association, attended a meeting in 1973 with The Thames Society and produced a sketch of a possible walk from its source to the sea. For the following 23 years, volunteers from the Ramblers and the River Thames Society, along with other campaign groups, worked with landowners, local authorities and politicians along the proposed route to create what we now know as the Thames Path National Trail. It follows mainly the old 18 Century tow paths constructed when the Thames was an important trade route prior to the arrival of the railways. Many of these had fallen into disrepair or were washed away by floods. The Thames Path National Trail was officially opened on 24 July 1996, with a new guidebook written by David Sharp. It took 23 years for his passion to be realised. David Sharp died in April 2015, aged 89. There is a memorial bench to David and his wife Margaret beside the Thames Path in Barnes. God bless him for leaving this wonderful legacy.

By 12 o’clock, Tom and I were beginning to feel quite tired, but our lunch stop seemed a long way away. It was not until we arrived at the Jacobs Inn at Wolvercote that we realised we had walked 7 miles without a break, and we only had to walk across Port Meadow after lunch. We said goodbye to Clare and Alannah, and with the company of Charles and Angela, we had an easy stroll across the meadow to our car. We had a welcome ice cream from a cheery NewZealander and his Spanish girlfriend there. They were converting an old ambulance into a camper-van, intending to drive across Europe and Asia and eventually arrive home at Christchurch, New Zealand. What an adventure; I hope they make it.

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Patrons: The Rt Revd Steven Croft, Bishop of Oxford and The Revd Canon Geoff Baylis, Vicar of St James and St Francis Churches, Oxford