There’s renewed interest in establishing a circular path footpath linking Long Wittenham and Clifton Hampden using part of the Thames Path. The former chairman of Long Wittenham Parish Council Tom Bowtell first promoted the idea three years ago but it ran aground following opposition from the farmer who owned land on the island at the back of Long Wittenham. A fence was proposed to segregate grazing animals from the public but the land owner was unhappy, citing vandalism to property and risk to livestock.
Since then there’s been a change of ownership and Mr Bowtell sees a window of opportunity to re-ignite his circular walk plan. He is supported by Long Wittenham Parish Council and a footpath group is being re-established to promote the idea. The group is a sub-group of the new Neighbourhood Development Plan team which is reviewing the current NDP.
A bridge over the Thames from the island towards the Thames Path near Clifton Hampden had been rebuilt. Talks with the Environment Agency to use the weir bridge crossing to the island from Long Wittenham will form part of the negotiations.
Mr Bowtell said the new bridge might help longer term with discussions on access. “If we manage to negotiate the footpath over this area we can make a new circular walk possible via the Thames Path from the back of the Wittenham caravan park.”
“One objection was about the bridge being weak and dangerous but this has been re-built. I still believe the council paying for a fenced off area along part of the island could be a solution to keep walkers and dogs segregated from livestock which the land owners might support. We would like to hear the public’s views on the circular path idea.”
Meanwhile the search for a cycle path route alongside the road between Long Wittenham and Clifton Hampden continues. Consultants working with Oxfordshire County Council hope to have a detailed design and report ready by the spring. The plan forms part of a proposed network of cycle paths linking the Vale Science area at Harwell, Milton Park, Didcot and Culham Science Centre.
More details on the proposed circular walk from Tom Bowtell on 01865 407261 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org