Chimney Meadows, Shifford Lock

On Wednesday 18th July we left Swinford Meadows with the intention of going as far as we could (or wanted to) and then turning back downstream. The reason being our guests (Edward & Anne) needed to be back in Sheffield by the weekend and they needed to catch a train. 

The first lock upstream, Pinkhill was not attended by a lock keeper so we operated it ourselves. Flood markers are a feature of Thames Locks. At Eynsham there was no evidence of the flood of July 2007 which was generally regarded as the highest yet. At Pinkhill there was still no official mark, but as we had noted at many locks back in August 2007, there was an unofficial mark (felt tip). I have noted this before, but its worth reiterating that the 2007 flood occurred in the summer whilst the other two major floods occurred in the spring after heavy winter snows or in the autumn. 

Flood markers at Pinkhill Lock, including

Self-operation of Pinkhill Lock

Above Northmoor Lock we passed the spot where we moored in August 2007 and I photographed Maggie standing by a temporary flood marker nailed to a tree.

Tree where we moored in August 2007

We decided to have a lunch at Newbridge (oldest crossing of the Thames!). The bridge is blessed by having pubs at either end. The Rose Revived has a good reputation but we moored on the Oxfordshire bank and went to the nearest pub, The Maybush. We had a really had a good lunch - very memorable. We can certainly recommend it. They appear to be promoting weddings and the field alongside the moorings was being prepared with a marquee, some tents for sleeping and the ubiquitous shepherd's hut.

Paddle boarders on the Upper Thames

We moved on in the afternoon and decided to call it a day at Shifford Lock where we found a mooring free in the backwater. It was a great quiet mooring with no roads nearby and access to the Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve.

Our mooring at Shifford Lock

Shifford Lock

Manual operation of Shifford Lock

Insect Hotel, Shifford Lock

After we moored up a group of girl canoeists on a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme arrived and we shown their overnight camping spot on the island next to Albert. The lock keeper said they would be quiet, and they were.
Duke of Edinburgh Scheme canoeists arriving at Shifford Lock

In the evening we walked around the nature reserve and spent some time in the hides as the sun went down. We didn't see much of note in terms of bird life but we did see two roe deer. It is a great quite mooring and you can even pay a little extra for an electric hook-up. Another memorable day.

Bird watching at Chinmey Meadows Nature Reserve