The area around Godstow Lock is rich with history, both early and recent. For instance, the local pub, the Trout Inn, has been a haunt of Inspector Morse and his subordinate, Lewis, who filmed some of their pub scenes here. It's a very good pub, by the way!
Godstow Lock is the 'highest' hydraulically-operated pound lock on the Thames. It was converted to hydraulic operation in 1970 when the original heavy wood beams were removed. Prior to 1790 there was a flash weir under Godstow Bridge. Just below Godstow Lock was Medley Weir, the last operational flash weir on the Thames. It was finally removed in 1928.
Godstow is well known for its Abbey ruins, a few metres away. It was originally a nunnery dating back to the 1100s, when Henry II was King of England. Here are stories of scandal, notoriety and war. Godstow Abbey was once a magnificent church, with court, cloisters and chapter house.
Today, only the walls and ruins of the abbess's private chapel remain. It was in the nunnery that Henry II met his mistress, Rosamund Clifford who bore him two sons. His Queen, Eleanour of Aquitaine, was NOT amused! Later the nunnery became notorious for its 'hospitality' towards the young monks at Oxford.
Alongside the lock are Port Meadow (grazed by cattle, it is said, for 4000 years), Pixey Mead and Yarnton Meads, where there are varieties of wild flowers, some of them quite rare. The lock is a habitat for kingfishers, woodpeckers, and the red breasted merganser, among many other types of wildlife.