Chapter VI - Ark's Weir, Northmoor Lock

Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide - Ark's Weir Site, Northmoor Lock, Hart's Footbridge

Map: Ark's Weir, Northmoor Lock

And now through banks from strife remote
Thy crystal waters wind along,
Responsive to the wild bird's note,
Or lonely boatman's careless song.

ARK weir (Noah's Ark), known aforetime also as Hart's, once stood about half a mile above Bablock Hithe. It is described in Fearnside: "On one side is the sluice, through which the water having attained more body, rushes with considerable noise; another branch flows through the open weir, and a third forms a backwater."

The River is now very beautiful for a mile before you reach Northmoor lock, particuIarly one little straight reach bordered with high, overarching trees, illustrated in Boydell. Along here if you have good fortune you may hear in the evening the bells of Appleton, and may recall de Quincey: "The music from a finely toned set of bells, when heard upon a winding river, in summer, under the farewell lights of setting suns, is the most pathetic in the world. " Above the lock is Ridge's footbridge, over the site of another dismantled weir; Ridge's or Langley or Cock's. From the crown of this bridge, which lies at the exact point at which the River ascends northward for its long sweep round by Oxford and southward again to Abingdon, you may behold a true vision of the soul of remote Thames landscape. Across the Oxfordshire meadows lie the grey roofs and barns of tiny Moorton; and hence, if you choose, is the nearest way from the River to Fyfield; across Appleton Lower Common, desolate under a bleak August sky the day I was there, then over a little ridge and through the hamlet of Netherton. Once as I went, my thoughts busy with Froude's Henry the Eighth, what in the world should I observe but a lordly bull recumbent, with precisely six sleek cows peacefully ruminant around him.

Where Thames Smooth Waters Glide - Ark's Weir Site, Northmoor Lock, Hart's Footbridge

Map: Ark's Weir, Northmoor Lock

 
 
 
 
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