The River Thames flows within a few hundred yards of the town centre, spanned by the medieval bridges which give Bridge Street its name. You can be watching the bustle of the market place over a cappuccino at 11am and strolling by the Thames by 11.05am.
Abingdon is a unique market town where the countryside sits on the doorstep and the rural riverbanks look across to the medieval St Helen’s Wharf. The rushing water of the lock and weir falls into the main flow less than half a mile up-river from the town centre. Canoeists practise on the tumbling water, as holiday narrowboats pull up for water and supplies. In the Summer, hardy outdoor swimmers can wave from the safety of the heated outdoor pool to the hired boats chugging past on the river.
Thames Path National Trail is one of two national trails passing through town, four national trails are close to town including the Ridgeway and the Oxfordshire Green Belt Way. There is more useful information for anyone planning to explore on foot or deciding upon a walking holiday on the National Trails website or for a quick summary please download the leaflet pdf below.
For a walk that includes higher ground, The Vale Way is 27 miles long, generally running East to West from Abingdon, connecting the three market towns of Abingdon, Wantage and Faringdon. It also passes through a number of the larger villages such as pretty Steventon and Stanford in the Vale, as well as smaller settlements. Geographically it travels from the source of the River Ock to where it flows into the Thames in Abingdon but doesn’t follow it closely. Two other important trails or recreational paths in Oxfordshire are connected by the Vale Way, the Thames Path at Abingdon, and the d’Arcy Dalton Way at Longcot. Throughout its length the Vale Way uses existing Public Rights of Way. Hard work by The Ramblers has promoted the new trail avoiding the lengthy procedure of attempting to establish new paths.
The town Visitor and Community Information Centre will have details of the many led walks including those offered each second and fourth Tuesday at 10.30 from the Market Place. Health walks start at the Leisure Centre. They gather at 10.15 Monday, Wednesday, Friday or from Long Furlong Medical Centre on Tuesdays.
GO Active Gold is a range of sports and walks for 55 plus age at low cost some £3.50 and see if a voucher or offer is available. Many of these activities are FREE to local residents.
WalkAboutAbingdon offer guided walks which are very good fun and you will learn a lot about the town’s history – morning or afternoon.
Abingdon-on-Thames is on Route Five national cycle route from London to Oxford which links with the canal path to Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Birmingham. The town is on three rivers – Ock and Stert lead into the Thames. The Thames and other footpaths are not for cyclists except where gravelled, and marked as such.