Abingdon Lock and Weir
Abingdon Lock is steeped in history, with the original weir reputedly having been built by the monks of Abingdon Abbey during the 10th century. It is 7.38 km (4.59 mi) downstream from Sandford Lock and 4.15 km (2.58 mi) upstream from Culham Lock.
A pound lock was built on the Swift Ditch in 1635, and in the late 18th century the current Abingdon lock was built and opened in 1790.
At the beginning of 2013, Abingdon Lock underwent a facelift as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing commitment to keeping the river's locks in good condition for boaters.
Around the lock
It is a pleasure to walk around this picturesque lock, watching vessels such as pleasure cruisers, narrow boats and long boats pass through.
Immediately above the weir, towards Abingdon, is the channel built by the monks of Abingdon Abbey in the 10th century to facilitate the transport of supplies and mill water to the abbey.
At the lock-keeper's house, which dates back to 1928 according to a tablet above the front door, ice creams and other refreshments are available during the summer.
Beyond the lock
A short walk away, along the water-meadows and past the popular visitor moorings is Abingdon Bridge, which began life as a stone bridge in 1416.
Also not far from the lock lies Andersey Island. It is created by the main river and the Swift Ditch, which used to be the primary navigation channel until Abingdon Lock was built. The Swift Ditch is crossed by three bridges, one of which is the mediaeval Culham Bridge.
If you fancy a longer walk, you may want to consider part of the Thames Path. It crosses the river at Abingdon Lock, and you can either follow it upstream on the western bank all the way to Sandford Lock, or along the eastern bank via Culham Bridge to Culham Lock.
Upstream from Abingdon Lock also lie Nuneham Railway Bridge, Lock Wood Island, Nuneham House and Nuneham Park.
How to get there
From Oxford, take the A34 towards Newbury. Leave the road at the A4183, Oxford Road and follow to Abingdon.
From Newbury leave the A34 at A415 and follow the signs to Abingdon.
There's a public car park by Abingdon Bridge, which at the time of publishing was free for the first two hours. From the south side of Abingdon Bridge, it's a pleasant stroll to the lock along the River Thames (less than one kilometre, approx half a mile).