About the Thames

Section 2 – Eynsham to Oxford

Researched and written by Jeannette Briggs and photos by Stephen Worsfold

The next bridge to cross the Thames carries the A34 trunk road high above it, and you can hear the noise of the traffic long before you see the bridge. After this concrete monstrosity you come across Godstow Bridge (headroom 8’5"), which dates from 1792. It is on the site of an earlier bridge where a fierce battle took place in AD1645 during the Civil War. Godstow Bridge is next to the ruins of the famous Nunnery, where Henry II kept his beautiful mistress Rosamund the Fair. He thought she was safe, but Henry’s jealous Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine found out about Rosamund – and had her brutally killed.... It is just before this point on the Thames  that you can access the beautiful South Oxford Canal from the river and continue your journey north towards Banbury, Napton and the Midlands. 
www.canalguide.co.uk for more details.

Godstow Bridge by Doug Myers

Below Godstow at Binsey the Thames is crossed by Medley Footbridge (height 10’0"). You now enter the built up suburbs of Oxford. At Osney you encounter the notorious Osney Bridge which requires great care to navigate and a lot of forethought, because clearance for boats here is only 7’6. Not only is the headroom so low at the central point, but the curvature of the bridge means that extreme care needs to be taken when navigating through it as boats can hit the sides and cause severe damage to their windscreens, lights or other boating hazards. These - of course – all have to be lowered or removed altogether before a boat can pass under the bridge. Again, I had an interesting first-hand experience of navigating this bridge in a very large boat in August 2004...........

The River Thames is next crossed by two footbridges and Osney Railway Bridge, before reaching the beautiful Folly Bridge (headroom 10’3"). This takes its name from a tower that stood on the site of the (rather peculiar) Victorian building you see before you, adorned with statuettes, wrought iron railings and balconies. Folly Bridge was built in 1827, and carries the north-south road through the beautiful and historic University town of Oxford.

Donnington Bridge (headroom 16’6" ) is shortly downstream of Folly Bridge, followed by Isis Bridge (headroom 16’ 6"). Both these are major road bridges, and are followed by Kennington and Nuneham Rail bridges.

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