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Thread: Middle Thames and Pooh Sticks Bridge

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Sunbury on Thames.

    Default Middle Thames and Pooh Sticks Bridge

    It was time for another Thames island canoe /camp trip. This weekend’s plan was an easy 10 miles return trip from Wallingford a picturesque market town on the Berkshire and Oxford border up to Day’s Lock, the home of the annual Pooh Sticks Championship.

    The launch site was sandy beach 50m from the car park on the other side of the bridge through the arch

    I was concerned that now I have added airbags that we wouldn’t have enough space however the advent of the warmer weather meant that a lot less warm/wet gear was required consequently everything fitted with remarkable ease.

    Although the riverside stretch at Wallingford was quite busy it only took a few hundred metres before we realised this really was a quiet section of the Thames.

    It was a mile and half upstream to Benson lock, we passed 4 other open canoes coming downstream on their way to Goring but that really was about the only watercraft we saw. On arrival we had to find the lockkeeper as he couldn’t see us and there were no other boats waiting on either side.

    Shillingford Bridge was about the halfway mark.

    As we were making good time we had a leisurely lunch sat on a fisherman’s pod watching a wedding party assemble at the hotel opposite.

    On arrival at Day’s the lock keeper told us the camping was on the island below the lock, he recommended mooring on the jetty, however this was simply too high to safely unload so we had a good look round and found a shallow(ish) section on the bottom end of the island. The camping area was a little uneven and didn’t have a river view however it was perfectly adequate. Fortunately the site was beyond a locked gate (key supplied for £10 deposit) so we decided to cross the footbridge and walk the mile across the fields to Dorchester and visit the pub – hurray

    After putting the kids to bed Helen and I sat on the jetty and enjoyed the rest of the tranquil evening.

    No trip to Days could be complete without re-enacting Christopher Robin and Winnie’s game of Pooh Sticks.

    The return journey was equally quiet with just a few more boats and anglers (all of whom were friendly – maybe bacause its the start of the season?). Lunch was just below Benson on one the many sandy beaches on this stretch.

    Given that its was a warm Sunday afternoon Wallingford was even busier, I therefore opted to load the car while Helen supervised the kids at the open air paddling pool – a real treat for them.

    Once again 4 happy campers!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    South West


    A lovely trip.

    This is something I aspire to when my girls are older (one is 3, the other 6 months).

    Great report - thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Nr Rochester in Kent


    Great blogg. River looks really nice. The Medway where we normally paddle has very few places where you can actually beach a boat, so I get quite jealous about such a small aspect of the river. We are always struggling to find good landing spots.

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Lochwinnoch, Scotland


    Looks like the girls really enjoyed their trip. I can only hope I can make my own childrens trips as enjoyable.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Gillingham, Kent


    We never think of the Thames being like that, the bit that we normally see is the stretch through central London.

    Looks like a good day out.

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