August 16, 2008

Thames: Clifton Hampden to Wallingford

We left home at 7:30 am to reach Culham Station at 10:05 am. We waited 20 minutes after the bus to Clifton Hampden was scheduled to arrive before reluctantly deciding to walk to Clifton Hampden. Just as we crossed the road, the bus barrelled by us. It wasn't too long before we reached the Barley Mow which Kris remembered in Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in Boat (a book Kris loved and I could not finish).

Clifton Hampden turned out to be an adorable village of thatched roof houses. Someone walking by directed us to cross the red brick bridge which was built in 1864 and designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott of Albert Memorial and St Pancras Station Hotel fame.

Soon after we left the village we came upon some type of memorial we could not identify but looked important. We also had a great view of the controversial Didcot coal power station for a good portion of our walk.

The Day's Lock lockkeeper's home lies across a footbridge. The formerly important Roman town now called Dorchester is within view and an easy walk.

Wallingford Castle was built 1067-1071 under orders from William the Conqueror. It was the last English stronghold to surrender during the English Civil War. Cromwell ordered it to be destroyed in 1652. Only two sections of the wall remain.

Wallingford Bridge has rounded 19th century arches on the upstream side and quaint pointed mediaeval arches on the downstream side. We apparently photographed the modern upstream side from our riverside pub table.

The highlight for Kris was a £1 golf shirt at a warehouse clearance store in Wallingford. Kris did not turn green nor did the shirt fall apart or turn anything else green when washed. This will probably be THE bargain of our entire stay in the UK.

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