Tadpole Bridge & Rushey Lock

Information kindly provided by John Melling.

This area, adjoining the Thames Path towards the upstream end of the Thames at Lechlade, is an attractive area of mainly hay and grazing meadows in an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) complemented by pollarded willows and tall hedges. Access points include Tadpole and Radcot Bridges with their adjoining hostelries.

For an approximate location map, click here.

A reliable area for Tree Sparrow and breeding Curlew with a chance in season of Common Sandpiper, Redstart, and Wheatear. A selection of riparian species can be seen at any time.


From A420: Leave A420 at Buckland, turning right (signposted Bampton). After 3 km park in lay-by on right hand side over the narrow Tadpole Bridge. For patrons, The Trout public house offers alternative parking.

The half-hourly Stagecoach service 66 to Swindon stops on the A420 at Buckland Turn between Oxford and Faringdon.

The birds described below can be seen by following the Thames Path west (upstream) to Rushey Lock (1.5 km) and beyond. Footpaths from Rushey Lock and Old Man's Bridge (SP299002) provide opportunities for an extended circular walk, for example via Carswell Marsh (SU324989) south of the Thames or through green lanes north of the river.

First explore Tadpole Bridge and the Trout Inn, particularly for Tree Sparrow, which nest in both structures. They can be found in all months but numbers peak after the breeding season. The Thames Path to Rushey Lock follows a tarmac gated road. In spring and summer, look down into the reeds to locate singing and nesting Reed Warblers. Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat frequent the bushes. Tree Sparrow also breed at Rushey Lock which is a site for supplementary feeding as part of the OOS Tree Sparrow Project which has extended the sparrow's range along the Thames.On crossing the Thames you may see a Kingfisher or Grey Wagtail.

Continuing west along the Thames Path you will be accompanied between February and July by the 'bubbling' calls of Curlew from the hay and grazing meadows to either side. Little Owls breed in the pollarded willows along the banks.

Up to five Redstart are regular in July and August near Old Man's Bridge. Other autumn migrants are regular Yellow Wagtail and occasional Wheatear. You may locate Common Sandpiper on the banks of the Thames in spring and autumn. In winter Common Snipe may be flushed from the restricted marsh vegetation along the river banks and several hundred Fieldfare may be present in the fields and hedges. Buzzard are seen throughout the year.

The area described can also be accessed from Radcot Bridge (SU286995) which has extensive riverside car parking, and from where the Thames Path to Kelmscott and Buscot can also be explored. A visit to Badbury Hill and Buscot Lake to the west of Faringdon will produce a selection of the commoner woodland species. Following the Thames east from Tadpole Bridge brings you to Chimney Meadows (a BBOWT-managed reserve, but this section viewable only from the path). In contrast to the section of the Thames Path described above, parts of this section can be very wet underfoot or overgrown.

John Melling