Culham Lock

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Culham Lock
2008-05 Culham Lock (2).JPG
Culham lock from upstream
Waterway River Thames
County Oxfordshire
Maintained by Environment Agency
Operation Hydraulic
First built 1809
Length 39.87 m (130 ft 10 in) [1]
Width 5.33 m (17 ft 6 in)[1]
Fall 2.41 m (7 ft 11 in)[1]
Above sea level 161'
Distance to
Teddington Lock
82 miles
Culham Lock
River Thames
weir
weir
Abingdon Lock & weir
Swift Ditch
A415 Bridge St, Abingdon
River Ock
Wilts & Berks Canal
Andersey Island
marina
A415 Abingdon Road
Proposed W&B link
New Wilts and Berks Jn
weir
Sutton Pools
Culham Lock
Abingdon Road bridges
River Thames

Culham Lock is a lock on the River Thames in England close to Culham, Oxfordshire. It is on a lock cut to the north of the main stream, which approaches the large village of Sutton Courtenay. The lock was built of stone by the Thames Navigation Commission in 1809.

The associated weirs are on the old course of the river under the massive causeway which separates the millstream from picturesque Sutton Pools. The causeway is very old and was thought to have been built by Saxon labour

History[edit]

The river originally passed close to Sutton Courtenay and under a large mill there. In 1667 occurs the first reference to a pound lock underneath this mill. This had a set of gates beneath the mill floor and included a wide pool at the back of the mill. Consequently it required a very large volume of water to fill it and so incurred a heavy toll. There were complaints to the Thames Navigation Commission in 1772 that the floor of the mill was a great obstruction to navigation. Although it was privately owned, the Commission undertook some improvements in 1789, but complaints persisted on the grounds of inconvenience and high tolls. Finally the Commission's surveyor recommended the new lock with its long cut, and this was completed in 1809. A lock cut bridge was built at the same time.[2]

Access to the lock[edit]

The lock can be reached from the road at Sutton Bridge, Oxfordshire or on foot across the fields from Sutton Courtenay.

Reach above the lock[edit]

The river follows the cut and turns sharply to the right when it rejoins the main course. A new junction for the Wilts & Berks Canal has been constructed almost opposite the top end of Culham Cut as part of a restoration project. The junction was opened on 30 August 2006, and initially runs for about 150 yd (137m) to a winding hole, but will eventually link to the historic route of the canal to the west of Abingdon.[3]

Abingdon riverside from the other side of the river

About halfway along the river on the eastern bank the Swift Ditch rejoins the main stream. This backwater was formerly the main course of the river and is crossed by a footbridge and the ancient Culham Bridge. The Swift Ditch creates Andersey Island, one of the largest islands on the Thames. On the Thames side there is an attractive piece of parkland before Abingdon Bridge. On the opposite side here is the town of Abingdon. After the bricked-up former entrance to the Wilts & Berks Canal there is an iron bridge over the mouth of the River Ock and then the town quayside. The river is crossed by Abingdon Bridge which is divided into two (the part across the main navigation being Burford Bridge) by Nag's Head Island. Beyond this on the Abingdon side is parkland associated with Abingdon Abbey.

There is a rowing club on the reach which is the site of the Abingdon Head race.

The Thames Path follows the eastern bank over Culham Bridge and Andersey Island to Abingdon Lock, where it crosses over to the other side.

See also[edit]

Next crossing upstream River Thames Next crossing downstream
Abingdon Bridge (road) Culham Lock bridges Sutton Bridge (road)
Next lock upstream River Thames Next lock downstream
Abingdon Lock
4.15 km (2.58 mi) [4]
Culham Lock
Grid reference: SU507948
Clifton Lock
4.52 km (2.81 mi)[4]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°39′01″N 1°16′03″W / 51.6504°N 1.2676°W / 51.6504; -1.2676

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Environment Agency Dimensions of locks on the River Thames". web page. Environmental Agency. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.  Dimensions given in metres
  2. ^ Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 - republished 1968 David & Charles
  3. ^ Grand Opening of Jubilee Junction
  4. ^ a b "Environment Agency Distances between locks on the River Thames". web page. Environmental Agency. 19 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.  Distances given in km