Wednesday 26 August 2009

The Abbey, Abingdon (Oxfordshire)

Approx time: 1 hour
Paths: footpaths along most of the route, some gravel paths and 1 stretch of uneven grass
Points of interest: large play park for children of all ages, good areas for picnics (green key rated gardens), large spaces to kick a ball or play, outdoor swimming pool during the summer, paddling pool with jets weekends in the summer, weir, river, lock, museum, ducks.
Amenities: parking off the A415 (Rye farm, pay and display), pubs on route, town center shops and cafes, toilets at Abbey Meadows
Grading: ideally an all terrain buggy, can be hard going with pushchair or stroller
Weather: summer for the pool and water features, can be wet and muddy after lots of rain.
Warning: open water along most of the route

1. Turn right upon leaving the car park heading towards Abingdon town centre (up Bridge Street).
2. At the top of Bridge Street you will have the town center in front of you for shops and cafes and the impressive Abingdon County Hall Museum to your left (free entry and the roof is open in good weather), turn right at the church and go under the arch way.

3. After passing under the archway the town hall will be on your right, continue to the right for a short distance cross the road and on your left will be a small arch way leading to the Abbey Gardens.
4. Explore the Abbey Gardens, either going through the flower beds or the steps down to the Abbey Ruins.

you will soon come to a large open playing field with a pond at the bottom of the slope, follow the footpath through the grounds and to the right is a gate.
5. Passing through the gate you will reach a small car park and ahead of you will be a stream and bridge.
6. Cross the bridge and turn to your left. Follow this path all the way to the weir and lock (you may wish to divert here for the toilets, swimming pool, paddling pool, play area or feeding the ducks).
7. Cross over the weir and lock and turn to your right and through a gate (if you wish to avoid the uneven ground you may take the road but this is a very boring route).
8. Follow the river to the bridge, if you are all on foot you can go up the steps which will bring you out next to the car park, or carry on under the bridge to a slope the other side. Warning - taking the slope will bring you out to a busy road you will have to cross to return to the car park.

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