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Last trek of the year

By Bill Nicholls

Like most of you at Christmas it is a time to spend eating (note no drinking) and spending time with your family of loved ones so by the time Monday after came round I was crawling the walls to get out. My wife must have sensed I was planning something as I had been looking at some maps trying to decide where to go. A further walk down the Kennet and the Blue Line or go back to the upper Thames and collect more of the Red Line. The lines Iím referring to are the old WW2 stoplines which were built to stop the German invasion if it happened. So far I have managed to get photos from Pangbourne to Duxford in Oxfordshire and plot them on Google maps.
After pondering I decided it was the Thames or Isis as it should be called where I was going. There were three pillboxes along the Thames between Tadpole Bride and Chimney with a further one just upstream from Tadpole Bridge. I had heard from one person the pillboxes were blocked so was just expecting to get photos of the exterior.
Where to start was the first problem which I had expected to be at Chimney Nature reserve but I found people had been parking at Tadpole Bridge so that is where I started. SP3300 : Ice on the water by Bill Nicholls
The bridge is in Cotswold stone from the look of things and dates from the late 18th century, the earliest reference to it being in 1784. From here I walked in the Chimney direction downstream being amazed by the way the river meanders in a series of bends as it heads towards Oxford. The going was easy though slippery for all the snow which had fallen and in places care was needed just in case I ended up in the Thames which I had noticed had ice flows on it from all the freezing weather SP3400 : More ice on the bend by Bill Nicholls. After about 10 min walking I came to the first pillbox which was on a bend, this proved to be blocked as I heard so a few photos were taken of the exterior and condition. This it turned out to be worth doing as in some places the concrete was subject to frost damage. SP3400 : Gate in the entrance by Bill Nicholls
This pillbox is on the edge of the Chimney Nature reserve along the Thames path so from there it was a walk to Tenfoot Bridge which is a footbridge that spans the Thames SU3599 : Tenfoot Bridge by Bill Nicholls, just up form there is another impressive pillbox just inside the reserve. I climbed the fence to get to it but had to jump over a frozen drainage ditch first. On inspection the pillbox is in good condition and stands on the biggest base I have seen yet with a staircase to get to the entrance SU3599 : Back with a staircase by Bill Nicholls. Looking inside showed that the local bird population had squatters rights though they were not around at the time.
Back to the path and on to the last of the Pillboxes I was visiting along the reserve which again was in good condition though not such a large base though again a ditch had to be crossed but lucky some of the grass had formed a frozen bridge to cross it carefully SP3500 : Strictly no Mooring by Bill Nicholls. A quick look round the back to the Thames path, if you carry on downstream you come to Duxford and then Shifford but I headed back to Tadpole Bridge where a few photos were taken of the Trout (very busy) then on upstream to a forth Pillbox which again turned out to be for bats but a bonus was had as there is a Bench mark on the base. That was it time to go home but before doing so I spotted the
Second bench mark a flush bracket on the Bridge by gate, the end of a good dayís geographing and probably my first route for Rudiís Geo-Trips. I think I have finally found a use for my Etrix.
You can now follow the trip on here. LinkExternal link

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Marker only shows grid square

Tue, 18 Jan 2011 at 21:58
Grid Square
geotagged! SP3300
Chosen Photo

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