There are two slipways below Whitchurch Lock near Whitchurch Bridge,
(there is no access for launching at Whitchurch Lock):
On the Left bank (Pangbourne, south side) in Ferry Lane beside the Boathouse medical practice, opposite the Dolphin Adventure centre.
Pangbourne, Ferry Lane, Slipway
Ferry Lane being the termination point of the ferry prior to the building of the bridge. The advantage of this slip is that there is parking available in the nearby public car parks. The disadvantage of this Pangbourne slip is that the stream from the weir runs near the bank making launching of longer boats such as skiffs a little difficult.
The Slipway is to the right
On the Right bank (Whitchurch, north side) a slip into the mill pond which has less stream,
but no nearby parking. This slip is beside the toll house (see picture).
Once launched, there are nearby steps for embarkation, (via a passageway separated by railings
from the rest of The Mill House garden and marked with footpath signs).
Both the Weir pool and the Mill pool are private with no fishing or mooring.
In a very small boat this slipway gives access to the Ferryboat Inn and a few yards further to the Greyhound Inn (both in Whitchurch)
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
The Whitchurch slipway is on the extreme right
As we have said, the villages of Whitchurch and Pangbourne — the former in Oxfordshire, the latter in Berkshire — are twin villages, united by a long, narrow, ungainly, yet picturesque wooden bridge, from which pleasant views are obtained of the river, both above and below. There are, indeed, few prettier localities on the Thames: both have their venerable churches, their homely inns, of which the more "ambitious" is at Pangbourne; but here the angler may seek and find comforts in the little way-side "public" introduced into our sketch, which pictures also the weir-fall, the foreground timber-yard, and the cottage of the fisher-man, John Champ, whose "punts" are always ready, and who is in high favour with the " brethren of the angle", being
Himself as skilful in that art as any.
The original (1792) company still runs the bridge and has a
Before 1792: A ferry
The south branch of the Ridgeway drops down to the Thames at Pangbourne and was one of the earliest crossing places into Oxfordshire, first by ferry and later by bridge. The ferry operated from the road running past the George Inn down to the river (now known as Ferry Lane) and ran across to the mill at Whitchurch, where passengers would then walk along the grounds to the bridge over the mill race to Mill Lane.
1792: The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge built a timber bridge.
1792: Plan for Whitchurch Bridge -
Plan for Whitchurch Bridge, 1792
1792: 12th November, The Reading Mercury -
We have the pleasure of assuring the public that the bridge over the River Thames between Pangbourn and Whitchurch is open for the accommodation of horse and foot passengers and all sorts of cattle. It is necessary for a few weeks to refuse passage to loaded carriages, on account of the late wet season, till the roads and avenues to the same are somewhat more firm and settled.
1805: The first Whitchurch Bridge -
The first Whitchurch Bridge in 1805
© Copyright The Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge 2005
A neat and light bridge of oak, erected in 1793, with a balustrade on each side.
1852: The second wooden bridge (above) was built late 1852 and completed in spring 1853 and was similar to the earlier one but was less steep and had only half the number of piers, the balustrade was perpendicular with a criss cross fence somewhat like the present one but simpler, and with no central ornaments. There was a wide gate across the road from the toll-house porch door.
Second Whitchurch Bridge, painting by Claude Rowbotham -
Second Whitchurch Bridge painted by Claude Rowbotham
1871: The Second Whitchurch Bridge -
The Second Whitchurch Bridge in about 1871
Whitchurch Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1874
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT1354
1881: George Leslie, "Our River"
The bridge which unites Pangbourne with Whitchurch is of wood, and I am happy to state in good repair.
[ George Leslie only has to say something like that and the item is doomed! It was replaced in 1902. ]
1893: Pangbourne Bridge (the second Whitchurch Bridge) -
1893: Pangbourne Bridge
1902: Latticed iron bridge was designed by Joseph Morris and built by
the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd.
[ This, third bridge, looks quite similar to the 1852 second bridge but with even fewer piers. ]
Plan for Third Whitchurch Bridge in 1902.
1902: Whitchurch Bridge, James Dredge -
Whitchurch Bridge, James Dredge, 1902
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D212010a
1929: A Thames Survey -
Whitchurch Bridge, replacing the second timber one built 1840, dates from 1901
and is constructed of compound girders supported by three pairs of iron columns with
iron lattice balustrades.
Toll payable at toll-house on Oxfordshire side
1999: Whitchurch Bridge
Whitchurch Bridge in 1999
The 1902 Bridge closed for reconstruction on 3rd October 2013, and a totally new bridge re-opened on 19th September 2014. The dimensions and visual appearance of the reconstructed Bridge are similar to the 1902 Bridge
2005: The third (1902) Whitchurch Bridge by Doug Myers -