72. Narrowboat River Thames through Oxford & Supersizing Culham?

{Music} Hello, thank you very much for watching. Well
I’m still heading south on beautiful River Thames. This time of year is perfect for navigating
this waterway because It’s just like a mill pond. {Music} I had lots of people say, oh you’ve got
to be careful, there’s really fast flowing water. I think they’re referring to when
they travelled on it, possibly in the winter, when the river would be fuller. But this time of year, late spring, early
summer, absolutely beautiful. I’ve moored up in the sort of, non-urban areas. I’ve
been using mooring pins. No issues what so ever, the ground is nice and firm. I have
had some really stunningly hot days. Because Molly has no tow path to run along, because
the river winds back and forth, we’re out for a quick walk at the moment. But likewise, you can just relax in the evening
and you’ve got these beautiful sunsets and really nice sun rises and it’s a really
nice experience to be fair. I’m going through and past Oxford, mm probably today, maybe
the next day and I’m expecting lots of rowers between Oxford and Reading. I fully expect
it’s further on as well. The rowers all in training, Universities are all using
the Thames as well. It’s a huge river. Plenty of room for all of us. I’ve had no issues with any of the locks.
A lot of them are automated so you just get off and press a button. And the locks right
at the top are with big wheels. It’s almost like turning a ship to open the gate paddles.
I suppose that’s because of the pressure of water or it’s just simply the style of
how that lock is done. Very impressed with all the facilities, everything’s very clean.
It’s run by the Environment Agency and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. {Music} Carrying on east down the River Thames we
pass Farmoor Reservoir. This supplies the Wiltshire town of Swindon and has a capacity
of nearly 14 million litres. Heading in a wide curve past Dukes Cut, where
I originally entered the river my journey takes me south down through the city of Oxford. I didn’t want to moor in the city or its
suburbs, so carried on south, to the east of Abingdon where I stayed for the night next
to a large meadow. You can moor really close to the reservoir
and it’s a nice place to take a walk. However, dogs are completely banned from the reservoir
grounds. Just as you come towards Godstow Lock are
the ruins of Godstow Abbey, also known as Godstow Nunnery. Built in the 12 th century,
Henry II’s mistress Rosamund Clifford was buried here in 1176 but the exact location
of her grave is now unknown. {Music} Most of the locks from here on are hydraulic.
At Osney Lock the resident lock keeper was here to help. If they weren’t however there
are guides on each control should you need to navigate outside the lock keepers’ hours. Molly, sit. {Birds singing} Surrounded on two sides by the River Thames,
is the small village of Culham. This village however is going through some major changes
and the locals are campaigning against it. The Council are planning to build a small
town right next to the village and super sizing it from 170 homes to 3,500. When complete,
it’ll have a population of around 10,000 and not only threatens this beautiful countryside,
but also Culham Park Motocross Track. It’s a fully graded track and has been here
for 35 years. With each meet drawing nearly 400 motorcycle riders and between 3000 to
5000 spectators, this 2km track is at risk of closure and the locals would prefer this
busy motocross track, than 3,500 new homes. I moored up just west of the track for the
night before continuing south down the river. Until next time, see ya later.


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