Culham Reach

Culham Reach is the long straight below Abingdon.

1886:  Julia Isham Taylor, Down the Thames -

The banks of the river are low for some distance below Abingdon and the characters of the views remains the same, very slight hills, clumps of vigorous trees or single ones at irregular distances, alone break the sky line.
  It is this gentle flatness without hardness or a depressing effect which is so typical of many of the English counties.
In France and Germany the lines of the landscape are clearer and harder, the trees more stiff.

The Swift Ditch

The Swift Ditch (old channel, not navigable) outflows into the Thames at the top of Culham Reach. You can see the Swift Ditch (and the old Culham Bridge) in the top left of the aerial photo:

Aerial View of Culham Reach, the Swift Ditch, and Abingdon Marina
Culham Reach, the Swift Ditch, and Abingdon Marina

Swift Ditch Outflow.  This is the downstream end of what was the main navigation stream.  Notice the 1820 quotation for Abingdon Bridge in which what is now the main stream was referred to as “the new cut”. (New, that is, in the ninth century!)
Culham Bridge over the end of the Swift Ditch is just above the outflow.  It was possibly at one time the most important bridge at Abingdon.
A civil war skirmish was fought on this old Culham Bridge. The Royalists unsuccessfully tried to attack the Roundheads in Abingdon.
1645 -

Colonel Sir Henry Gage was mortally wounded attempting to destroy Culham Bridge and establish a fort against Abingdon; he is replaced as Governor of Oxford by William Legge.

1929: A Thames Survey -

Culham Bridges. The old bridge was built in 1416 by the Guild of the Brotherhood of Christ, who erected Abingdon Bridge: it is of stone with medieval arches, 23 feet wide between parapets, including one side-walk 3 feet 3 inches wide.
Owing to its age and condition it is now only open to pedestrians and all other traffic has been diverted to the New Bridge, built 1927-8, which is of stone, well designed, having one large elliptical arch spanning the stream and two side semi-circular arches. The roadway and new approaches are of generous width with two side-walks. Headway above normal water-level, 15 feet 6 inches.
Tolls are payable at the toll-house on the Berkshire side.

Abingdon Marina Slipway

Left Bank, Tel: 01235 536147 abingdonmarina@tiscali.co.uk

Abingdon Marina Slipway
Abingdon Marina Slipway

Abingdon Marina map
Abingdon Marina Map

The slipway is well constructed, except that it is said not to protrude enough under water so that heavy boats on large trailers may drop their wheels over the edge.  There should be no problem for smaller trailed boats.
The new marina is downstream of Abingdon itself.  It is a housing development beside a gravel pit with a useful slipway and splendid moorings for residents (and a few more houses now than shown above).

The Abbey Sailing Club