Abingdon-Marcham Ock Valley Walk

16 Bridge Walk

This is not intended to a complete step by step guide to the walk that leads you by the hand, but rather to enhance your walk by highlighting local history, views and curios. Some of these items may indeed tempt you to stray off your route so keep a good map at hand!!

Start: County Hall Abingdon Market Square

All walks start here, please imagine the Great Abbey that once towered behind St Nicolas Church.

Pass through the arches of the Guildhall to East St Helens which wends down to the river.

Abingdon has several quality coffee shops and every type of restaurant.

East St Helens view towards St Helens

There is a Specialist Walkers Shop here in East St Helens for Boots and Clothing

East St Helens view towards St Helens

East St Helen's is steeped in history and has its own walk so today we shall just ask you to admire it's beauty

Start of Ock Valley Walk (easy to miss!)

50 metres or so in front of the entrance to St Helens Church, actually the start is in West St Helens.

First Bridge over River OCK

The Ock (which means Salmon)

The Ock had two Celtic names, Cern and Eog or Ehoc (cf. the Welsh and Cornish for salmon), of which only the latter survived, the Old English word for salmon being almost the same, and the modern German word is Lachs. The Ock was used by the Romans to navigate to their "Temple" Complex at Frilford.

When you cross the bridge you are on an island between the original Ock itself and a flood-relief channel

Ock Island (but no official name)

The Ock used to regularly flood across to Ock Street, causing great distress to the poor families and many damp related illnesses for the children

The Cut was dug to prevent flooding. But the Ock closed Tesco's and caused much concern in the Caldecott in 2000

Leave Ock Island

Turning right would have taken you to Ock Street

Interesting multi-arch floodplain bridge

Best viewed in Winter (no Nettles!)

Ock Side Park (across the Drayton Rd)


Across the OCK again

Tesco can be seen through the trees (as a point of bearing)

Anti-Tank Dragons Teeth

A defensive line including a ditch, blockhouses and gun positions ran through here

New Cut Bridge


Former Canal Bank

Bank of the former raised bank canal (Berks & Wilts Canal) to Bristol

New Cut Mill House


Towards the A34 (you can hear it's roar)


More Anti-Tank Blocks

You are walking alongside the busy A34 to the footbridge

Footbridge over the A34

On a clear day you can south to the Berkshire Downs (Ridgeway), and north to Boars Hill, and West across the flat plain of the White Horse Vale.

Now follow the concrete track for a mile or so

White Horse Vale

Following line of the former canal.

You might already feel the melancholy of very flat country

Towards Marcham Mill

Follow the footpath which cuts across the field to the Willow Trees

Marcham Mill

and farm

Marcham Green


The Crown Pub

Open All Day Saturday

Marcham General Stores and Post Office

Closed from 12am Sundays (Drat!)

Essential resupply point!

Marcham Lions

Marcham "Place in the Marshes" is also home to New Denham College the WI Training Centre

There is no obvious round trip return to Abingdon, so best to return the same way.

© 2006 David Rayner