Local walks

Photos from walk on Thursday 15th December from Northmoor to Hart’s Weir Footbridge

Minus 7C when we started; hasn’t been this cold for a few years.



Hart’s Weir Footbridge is a single-span concrete footbridge across the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Locally, it is also known as Rainbow Bridge, due to its rainbow-arc appearance as seen from the horizon. It is situated on the reach above Northmoor Lock, the nearest village being Appleton, Oxfordshire to the east.


The bridge was built in 1879 on the site of a weir that was removed a year later. Then known as Hart’s Weir, it had previously been Ridge’s, Langley’s, Cock’s, Rudge’s, and Butler’s Weir.


Sixteen years later Northmoor Lock was built downstream.


[source: Fred. S. Thacker, The Thames Highway Vol II Locks and Weirs, 1920 via Wikipedia]


The bridge is made of concrete, with height 10 feet 9 inches (3.28 m)


We shall pass two weir-pools, long disused, between Newbridge and Bablock Hythe, namely, Langley, or Ridge’s Weir, and Ark, or Noah’s Ark Weir. These and previous weirs referred to are of the very simplest kind, and, except in the two instances mentioned, perform their service independently of a lock.


The object of this simple form of weir is to dam the river to the required height for such purposes as mill heads or navigation. The business is accomplished by the working of flood gates or paddles in grooves, and between rymers, to the sill at the bottom. In winter there may be a swift stream through the weirs, but, the weir paddles being withdrawn, there is very little fall.


Shooting the weir stream—one of the adventurous feats of the upper navigation—is an amusement unknown below Oxford, and at times it is not without its risks.


[Source The Project Gutenberg EBook of Rivers of Great Britain. The Thames, from Source to Sea., by Anonymous pub 1891]


Frosty handrail


with icicles like fern leaves


The Thames or Isis


Looking back from whence we came and went


Trees of the day (and pylons)




Northmoor Lock is a lock on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England, on the northern bank about a mile from Northmoor.

The lock was built in 1896 by the Thames Conservancy to replace a flash lock at Hart’s Weir, also known as Ridge’s Weir, about a mile upstream and another at Ark Weir downstream. The lock house, lock and weir are relatively little changed since they were built and they can be viewed as a group from the Thames Path and from the river.


The weir is just the other side of the lock island and is one of only two remaining complete Paddle and rymer (or rimer) manually operated weirs. It is thought that there are no other such weirs in the world. [source]


Hart’s Weir


More reading about Hart’s Weir, as quoted on the website WHERE THAMES SMOOTH WATERS GLIDE >HART’S FOOTBRIDGE page.


THE BOOK OF THE THAMES from Its Rise to its Fall. BY MR. AND MRS. S. C. HALL First published 1859  [Full text]

To visit one of these weirs — Hart’s weir — we must ask the reader’s company before we proceed farther on our route. In describing this, we shall make him sufficiently familiar with an object, to which it will be requisite frequently to direct his attention during his progress. Sometimes the weir is associated with the lock; but, generally, far up the river, where the stream is neither broad nor deep, the weir stands alone. We shall have occasion hereafter to picture them in combination. The weirs are artificial dams, or banks, carried across the river in order to pen up the water to a certain height, for the services of the mill, the fishery, and the navigation. A large range of framework rises from the bed of the river; this supports a number of flood-gates sliding in grooves, and connected with a sill in the bottom.


Hart’s Weir

Weir Paddles

Our engraving represents a group of these flood-gates as they were drawn upon land, and resting against the support rudely constructed for them beside Hart’s weir.

They are thus used: —


The square piles in the foreground are first struck at regular distances in the sill under water: between each of these one of the gates is placed by means of the pole attached to it — the boards completely stopping the space, and forming a dam across the river.


Two forms of dams are used: one with the board full upon the centre of the piles, and secured to them by strong plugs, over which the boat-hook is sometimes passed to aid lifting; the other has the water-board on one side, with a groove attached to it. Both of these are shown in the cut, as well as the rude stay for the rope of a barge to pass through, and which is generally formed of the branch of a tree. Such are the usual accompaniments of a weir in the upper Thames.


When these dams, or paddles, are drawn up, the whole body of the stream, being collected into a narrow space, rushes through with great rapidity, and gives a temporary depth to the shallows, or, by the power of the current, forces the barges over them. It is obvious that care is required to prepare the boat for the descent; for there is some danger to be encountered.


The weir is ever picturesque, for the water is always forcing its way through or over it — sometimes in a huge sheet, forming a striking cascade, at other times dribbling through with a not unpleasing melody.


As we have elsewhere observed, there is usually a cottage close beside the weir, for the accommodation of the weir-keeper; generally this is a public-house, pleasantly diversifying the scenery, and not the less so because often rugged and old.

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