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The River & Great Outdoors

Photo of Old Poud - River Thames

The River Thames flows within a few hundred yards of the town centre, spanned by the medieval bridges which give Bridge Street its name. You can be watching the bustle of the market place over a cappuccino at 11am; striding out along the Thames Path by 11.05am. It’s a unique market town where the countryside sits on the doorstep, and the rural riverbanks look across to the medieval wharf of St Helens. The rushing water of the lock and weir falls into the main flow less than half a mile up-river from town. Canoeists practise on the tumbling water, as holiday narrowboats pull up for water and supplies. Hardy outdoor swimmers can wave from the safety of the heated outdoor pool to the hired boats chugging past on the river.

Abingdon-on-Thames is on Route Five national cycle route from London to Oxford which links with the canal path to Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham. The town is on three rivers - Ock and Stert lead into the Thames - and on two national trails. Thames Path, Vale Way. The Oxfordshire Way, the Oxfordshire Green Belt Way and the Ridgeway are nearby.

There is more useful information for anyone planning to explore on foot or plan a walking holiday on the National Trails website or for a quick summary please download the leaflet pdf below.

For a circular walk using part of the Thames Path the Countryside section of Oxfordshire's website and an Abingdon Walks website as well as an i-footpaths phone app are helpful.

The town Visitor Information Centre will have details of the many led walks including those offered each second and fourth week from the Market Place. Health walks start at the Leisure Centre. There is a short led walk 2.00 pm each Tuesday at a slow pace for getting fit with more information on Get Oxfordshire Active.
WalkAboutAbingdon offer guided walks morning or afternoon.

Food festivals, Head of the River race, boating all through the year, regattas April to September, boat trips from May to September all make use of being on or by the Thames. One of the events to finish the season is Dragon Boat Day each September organised by local Rotarians with the support of Abingdon Lions.

Swimming the Thames with its strong currents and undertow can be avoided by swimming alongside the Thames at Abbey Meadow. The heated outdoor pool  young and old will find a very relaxing expereince.

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