Filed under: River Thames

Abingdon Swans could avoid the 2019 Upping

Abingdon Swans
The traditional Swan Upping will arrive this Friday in Abingdon. It is the annual census and inspection and ringing of the swans led my the master of the Queen’s swans.
Abingdon Swans
There are a family of  six cygnets, mum and dad, who can be seen on the River Thames in Abingdon.
Abingdon Swans
They could escape being upped if they stay near Abingdon Lock as the swan upping normally ends at Abingdon Bridge.
Abingdon Swans
The swan upping is partly ceremonial but does include a number of scientists who want to study what is happening to the swan population year by year.

8 Comments July 16, 2019

Riverside view of Abingdon – Then and Now

Then and Now
Here is the riverside view towards St Helen’s Church taken from Wilsham Road.
Then and Now
Here is a similar view from an Andrew Warland postcard.

The factory chimney has gone, and there are more trees now, but there are the same historic buildings: church, almshouses, bridge, Anchor Inn, malthouse.

The riverside view of Abingdon coming upstream shows one of the most ancient, picturesque, and interesting towns on the River Thames – then and now.

1 Comment April 26, 2019

Mill Stream partially cleared. More work and help needed

Mill Stream partially cleared
The Mill Stream, running near the Abbey Meadows in Abingdon, had become overgrown with fallen trees, and willows, and silted up. It had not been cleared for a long time. Anglers in particular are effected and are worried that the Mill Stream, dug by the monks in the days of Abingdon Abbey, might soon be no more.

I am told that The Environment Agency (E.A.) had some budget two years ago to clear the Mill Stream, and started work, but then stopped because of some unknown objection. Now that money could have been reallocated.
Mill Stream partially cleared
Paul Gustafson has been campaigning on this issue for some years, and was dismayed when this very important work was stopped by the EA. He also spoke to the Vale of White Horse District Council (VWHDC), who have financed some clearance work – which was carried out last week by a contractor.
Mill Stream partially cleared
He is full of praise for VWHDC and the contractors for their efforts, but says “More work is needed to stop us loosing this stream.”
Mill Stream partially cleared
He explained the problems:
* The top end, where water enters from the Thames, is still overgrown with willows and reed beds which stop the flow of water into the Mill Stream.
* The Mill Stream is so silted up that it is no longer a good spawning ground for fish. Fish need a gravel bed.
* Blockages to flow increase the potential for flooding.
Mill Stream partially cleared
* The Mill Stream is also blocked where it flows under the Upper Reaches.

He has spoken to the Environment Agency (EA) but at the moment their spokesperson has said that navigable waterways are their priority. Paul argues that all anglers pay the EA (£27.50) for a rod license and that money should be put back into angling, and sees little evidence of that in Abingdon.

So some clearance work has happened but the project is far from over. There needs to be a proper maintenance programme for the Mill Stream. This will involve Riparian (Riverside) landowners and the EA to make sure it happens.

8 Comments March 8, 2019

The mist lifted

Mist Cleared
The mist lifted and we enjoyed a sunny February Sunday here in Abingdon-on-Thames.
Mist Cleared
The view changed quickly. St Helen’s Church steeple was looking like a mirage when I walked across Abingdon Bridge.
Mist Cleared
On the way back, the steeple was clearly reflected in the water next to East St Helen Street.
Mist Cleared
The blossoms near to Abingdon Bridge gave a pretty way of framing the Old Gaol.

1 Comment February 24, 2019

Frosty Start and a walk along Wilsham Road to Abingdon Marina

Frosty Start
There was a frosty start to the morning with some dazzling sunshine. The River Thames though Abingdon is like a mirror reflecting the houses and the boats and cars along Wilsham Road .
Frosty Start
The water within Abingdon Marina is an even more brilliant mirror
Frosty Start
until some ducks churn it up.
Frosty Start
Back in 1987 you could have picked up properties at Abingdon Marina from £139,500. That was about the time we moved to Abingdon into a two bed semi in Riley Close for just over £40,000.
Frosty Start
Since 1987, and probably long before then, Wilsham Road has been used as an all day car park – with no waiting restrictions and not too far to walk to town.

5 Comments January 31, 2019

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