Thursday, 10 October 2019

Visitors unveiled and a walk in Whitchurch

Kevin Too says it was easy peasy ...

it was of course Kath and Neil ... here leaving us at Pangbourne yesterday morning.

 After they'd departed we went for a walk ...

 over the meadow to Whitchurch Bridge 

 There's a bit of fresh on the Thames just lately
From the bridge ...

 looking down we saw the unusual steering gear on this dutch barge
 That's Still Rockin' on the right.
 Pretty as a picture!

 The original bridge which was built completely of wood in the late 1700/early 1800's was quite steep and had 20 piers; it replaced a ferry
The second bridge built also in wood in 1852 was not as steep as the original and had half the number of piers.  The bridge was closed in 1902 due to signs of deterioration and the ferry was once more put into service.

The current bridge built in 1902 with four spans of latticed girders was improved in the 20's. 40's and 70's with extra strengthening including additional braces and in 2005 fenders were installed downstream to protect the bridge piers from boat collisions. The bridge was closed for reconstruction in October 2013 and reopened in September 2014 as we see it today.

At the other end of the bridge is the toll house which dates back to 1792 and the tolls were collected from the porch which at that time, faced with a door, onto the road and is a Grade II listed building.
The note at the bottom of the old toll price list states that 
"No tolls shall be taken for the portage of horses going to draw, or returning from drawing vessels into Whitchurch pound lock or for any persons attending and driving such horses". 
The new toll house with swing-arm barriers was built in recent times.
 Once past the toll house we're in Whitchurch.

On the many occasions that we've moored at Beale Park we've wanted to walk the Thames Path which could be seen over the river and we thought that we could find the path today.

We walked up the High Street which has lots of pretty houses to see if we could find the path
We did find a sign for the Thames Path when we arrived at St Mary's Church, but first we went inside ...


The original church which gave the village its name (Hwytcurke/White Church) was pre-conquest (Norman) and later a more spacious Norman church was built much of which is still evident today

There are lots of Whistler family members buried here

Discovering the church yard ...

This is the Thames Path we were looking for but it was just a small detour to ...
 Whitchurch Mill which was a corn mill and it's impressive mill wheels ...

 The mill was apparently used to generate electricity as far back as 1912 and is now a private six-bedroomed house

 A thoroughly enjoyable walk around this lovely village but we've still got to find and walk that path!

We managed the walk in the quite warm sunshine but just a few minutes after we returned to Still Rockin' the heavens opened!

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