Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. It can also help you get to know more of Abingdon. Healthy Abingdon have started putting together some interesting walks around the town. The idea behind the walks are the exercise walks people have been taking since the Coronavirus crisis started. Currently there are five available at http://www.healthyabingdon.org.uk/walks.htm and they are are asking people to create more.
The footpath starts off near Allparts on the Ashville Trading Estate. The red line on the map, taken from https://footpathmap.co.uk, shows that a lot of its length is through houses.
After the electricity substation on Byron Close, the footpath heads between the back garden fences of Byron Close and Ely Close.
It then opens up a little as the path skirts fields. I have seen it overgrown on some occasions but this year it looks well cut back and walkable in all but one place.
I was sent an email at the start of the lockdown saying that the path had been blocked by a fence. I walked the path for the first time this evening. It is a little dangerous to clamber over one obstacle.
There used to be a dogleg route round the foundation of a WWII shelter. The path has been blocked at this point before and opened up again at the insistence of Oxfordshire County Council. The email is asking for pressure to be put on Oxfordshire County Council so that it is opened again.
The footpath appears to follow closely the towpath of the old Wilts and Berks Canal and passes another WWII Pillbox.
At the far end is Mill Road.
Abingdon nightlife is still closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and there were a lot of people out walking this evening on the banks of the River Thames in Abingdon.
We crossed Abingdon Bridge.
Then walked along, seeing St Helen’s Church silhouetted with the sun setting behind.
Somebody has hung up masks from a tree, and they caught the last sun of the day.
We then walked back towards Abingdon Lock. There were lots of geese and insects about in Rye Farm Meadow.
The Environment Agency said on May 7th ‘Government restrictions due to Coronavirus 2020: these restrictions aim to stop all non-essential travel and minimise contact to slow the spread of the virus. A transit van is blocking navigation in the Iffley reach. Osney Lock has a mechanical failure. Sandford and Abingdon Locks have been damaged through misuse. Marsh Lock currently has a tree blocking vessel passage. Sunbury Lock has a sunken boat in the main channel above the lock cut.’
The water in Abingdon Lock is looking stagnant through not being used.
There is a long narrow pathway over the weir and people walk both ways, and so advice is given on observing social distancing rules.
Back in Abingdon there is a shop in Lombard Street that is between lessees, and the windows have been covered with newspapers from April 1st and before.
It includes Prize Sudoku and people panic buying toilet paper.
These days the supermarket shelves are full of toilet paper. When I went shopping last week, for a house I support, the things on the list that I could not find were self raising flour, and soda crystals. It varies. The previous time it was eggs and frozen fruit.
The Abingdon Health Walks scheme offers three walks a week from the White Horse Leisure and Tennis Centre (Monday, Wednesday and Fridays – 10.15 am meet in the café); and a Gentle Walk from Preston Road Community Centre (Thursday).
The walks do not cost anything but you do need to register with them beforehand. BETTER who run the leisure centre, has recently helped by providing public liability insurance and DBS checks for walk leaders – things necessary these days, so walks can continue as they have since Viv Boorman started them in 2004.
They also organise social events and the photo shows 50 members on holiday in September walking the Golden Cap National Trust trail in Somerset.
To find out more information on Abingdon Health Walks, ask at the leisure centre or contact Viv Boorman (Volunteer Scheme Coordinator) by emailing email@example.com .