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Days Lock on the River Thames

Day's Lock

The area around Day's Lock is said to be the most historic place in Oxfordshire. There are many reasons for this: a hilltop fort was built by iron-age man on Castle Hill and when the Romans invaded they built a camp where the nearest town would be founded - Dorchester.

For centuries this has been a religious area. Neolithic man built ritual henges a mile upstream. During the sixth century, St Birinus established the first cathedral in Wessex.

From the lock you can see two hills topped by trees. These are the Sinodun Hills - known usually as the Wittenham Clumps and less respectfully as Mother Dunch's Buttocks. The unfortunate Mother Dunch was the wife of a less-than-popular local medieval squire.

Day's Lock is the main gauging station for measuring the flow of water in the river. It has another claim to fame too - in 1605 King James I instigated the Oxford-Burcot Commission which built the first locks on the Thames in the 1620s. Burcot is a small village near Days Lock.

Just downstream is Little Wittenham Bridge which spans the river in two sections. The island in the middle in known as Lock House Island as the lock house was built here in 1928.


There is a campsite at Day's Lock at Little Wittenham, Abingdon, OX14 4RB. Telephone: 01865 407768

Did you know?

The World Poohsticks Championships were held each year on the Little Wittenham and Dorchester footbridges next to Day's Lock for 35 years until 2015. The game is described in A.A. Milne's book, The House at Pooh Corner, written in 1928. See the rules for playing Poohsticks.

Contact details

Telephone: +44 (0)1865 407768
Postcode: OX14 4RB

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