The Pillboxes ranged from Pangbourne to Abingdon at least that is what I thought but looking into it they went further up and were part of which I found out was the Red line. Part of a defence line built to stave off invasion should it have occurred. I had decided to try and find what was left after I noticed some road blocks in the village I live in had been demolished. I had thought at first it would just be a few photos but it turned out into a bit of a marathon which I have yet to finish.
Along from there about half a mile sits another that can just be made out on the trees. I have not visited these two yet but the intention's are there.
On one end is a gun pit which is sloping towards the river and filled with silt due to flooding, this is easy to see from the path but a friend of mine stopped off at the island and took some photos for me, the side you cannot see is washed away by the river over time
the inside full of silt due to the flooding
The opposite end used to have a Type 22 Pillbox which was either not finished or demolished after the war. The base is the though badly cracked and eroded and there is Rebar protruding for the walls. I'm thinking that it was never built in the first place
If you take the Thames Path you will walk by this one in Hartslock wood
which is a rather nice type 22 set in the bank. The pillbox is in good condition though as the entrance is in the back it is getting filled with debris of leaves and soil through erosion of the bank.
Walk onto Gatehampton viaduct and as you reach it you can see another type22 which is at the base of the rail embankment. Take care it is filling with stones and the fishermen use it as a shithouse and It is no the mose pleasent of ones to venture inside
What you cannot see from here is the gun emplacement that was built onto the rail viaduct
You can see this from a train and from underneath. It still had the holdfast studs protruding. I could not go on the railway but did manage to get this photo from below
Nearby is a small hut that looks like it could have been a home guard hut
Walking on towards Goring you pass an island which until recently was overgrown with willows, over the winter they have been pollarded and now reveal a type22.I used to see this while going pass on the bus to school, during the winter it gets flooded
On the other side beside the weir stood another type 22 I can remember but in recent years when the weir was refurbished it was removed.
Carry on along the Thames path till you reach the Moulsford Viaduct or Four Arches as it is locally known, Look across the river and you can see a type22, this is messy inside but in good condition it is also on the rail embankment. You can reach this one by walking along the Ridgeway path
Just along from the bank is a boathouse and almost opposite is a Type 22 in the garden on the Littlestoke side of the river.
Head on along the bank towards Wallingford and as you get to a bend in the river (second field) if you look to the right on the opposite side of the Thames you can see the North Stoke pillbox (not so easy in summer). This one is sandy inside from silt and tilting slightly due to erosion of the bank.
Since I first saw the pillbox the landowner had now fixed the bank and cleard the trees beside it to sow it in all its glory
Over to your left is another type22 and the second of the Fairmile ones. It’s a step up inside and the ricochet wall is damaged due to the local kids breaking chucks off.
The next place along here is Bow Bridge where Cholsey book enters the Thames, just past the bridge on the left is Type22 well hidden just off the path.
The two photos show here the past and present. My Father shown in the old one is posing by the bridge with the pillbox clearly in the background, in the second I am stood in the same place in recent years and the pillbox is hidden from sight. The photo was taken a few years ago as since the one of me was taken the gate has been removed
as this was taken in winter you can easily see the pillbox but in the summer you will walk past and not notice it
Unfortunately it is totally blocked up, most likely by the college when it was open.
Not far away you will notice a boathouse, look at it carefully it is not what it seems. The flat roof part on the side is a defended building
The windows around the side disguise the embrasures
and the end has been opened up to fit doors taking out an embrasure, part of which can still be seen, it may well have looked similar to the above photo
You need to cross the bridge now and take the footpath towards Wallingford, look to the left near the old church at Newnham Murren and you will see a Type 28A which is a bit messy inside due to cattle using it but it was the First 28 I took notice of.
As you come to Wallingford just before the bridge is another Type22 which is blocked to allow Bats to roost.
Walk on under the bridge towards the swimming pool and at the end is a Type 28A which is used as storage by the swimming pool.
Up until recently I did not realise it was there even though I used to go swimming in the pool as a kid. Though the big embrasure is blocked at least it is still there to see
Back over Wallingford Bridge and along the Thames path you bass Howbury Park and another Type 22 which I’m not sure if it is possible to see in the winter, during the summer it is not. This is one I never knew about till recent times and I spent four years there as an apprentice when it was Hydraulics Research Station. I did manage to visit when the Thames run was on and it is on Good condition.
The next couple are at Beason near the lock, a type 28 with a sutter on the embrasure
and a type 22 next door
Next along the path is this Type 28A you see in the field to the left of the Lock is viewable if a bit boggy to get to in the winter.
you have to go to the lock fo rthe next one but Don’t stop at the lock walk to the end of the chamber and there is a second Type 28A at the end covered in Ivy (I was told about it by a fellow Flickr contact) it is possible to get inside and it’s in reasonable condition though the ivy is taking its toll on the outside.
Head back to the Weir now and cross then walk along to the Thames again, you pass through a boatyard and holiday home site. Up on the right is a Type 22 which was one of the hardest to find due again to Ivy and being party surrounded by a fence. I spotted the top on the way past and it has now been cleared of ivy a bit but the inside is full of wood from the boatyard
Walk on along the Thames path towards Shillingford and around 500 meters away you will see a Type 28A facing the bridge, this is full of rubbish mainly from the flooding it gets.
Over to the right and beside the road in a copse is a second Type 28A which faces the road and looks towards Benson. Admittedly this one is clean other that debris from trees.
As you get to Shillingford you pass along a hedge, I had walked past peering through to see if there was anything there and on the way back I spotted concrete. I managed to find my way in and to my delight there was a gun pit partly filled with leaves and debris from the surrounding trees.
Carrying on along the Thames path over the bridge and you walk down a private road and turn right along a path, if you carry on along the road you find a gate leading to a riverside field and another Type 22 which again is in reasonable condition.
Back to the Thames path and follow along to Dorchester. The next pillbox is along the A329 and faces the river, it’s a Type 28A and I might add the hedge is the same height as the pillbox so not easy to spot. It is in good condition though again used by farm stock from time to time.
Now get along to the Dike Hills at Dorchester for the Next two Type28A’s
Hard to say how to visit these, I parked up in Dorchester and walked down to the Dyke Hills where you find the first Type 28A facing the A329. It’s in very good condition in and out.
You need to follow the footpath along the hill which is an Iron Age relic to the river Thames where you find a second Type28A. This faces across the river at another Type 28A. Now you are on the wrong side for the next set of pillboxes
Not sure how to class this but on the corner of the wall at Little Wittenham manor was an embrasure,
Carry on till you come to a footpath which if you follow will bring you out near a farm. You need to get to the farmyard and look to see if there is any one around you can ask before looking for the pillbox which is over in the far right hand corner of the farm in a copse of elder and singers. Not the easiest I have gotten into but it’s in good nick.
it faces another Type 28A so back to the road where you turn right at the gate and follow the field boundary as you reach the end you should see the Type 28A on the right beside a ditch. This one is in good condition but watch out for deer they seem to live in the area. The pillbox faces across a field towards Northfield farm and another Type 28A.
If you head towards Clifton Hampdon then just as the Thames flows near the road you can see another Type 28A in the garden of the Lock keepers house. This faces the road and some roadblocks beside it. There was a ditch running from that point towards the other set at Northfield Farm.
As you walk past the weir look across to the left you will see a Type 22. I might add both the pillboxes are better viewed from the other side of the weir but you need to walk up from Long Wittenham to see them
The next pillboxes are at Appleford bridge where there are two, one Type 28A by the rail embankment
and a Type 22 across the field a bit further towards the Abingdon road. Both are in good condition.
There is another Type 28A up in the garden of Zouch Farm nearby. It looks in good condition but is another used for storage.
You need to carry on along the Thames path to Culham and just before you will see a fenced off area (might be a shooting range) follow the fence uphill and go into the field the pillbox is along there a Type 28A facing Zouch Farm, there is also a trashed ROC post beside it and I think the pillbox was used by them at one time as well.
We are coming to the last of the pillboxes now for this section so walk over Sutton Bridge and look across the riverside meadow you should see a Type 28A facing the bridge, it’s another in reasonable condition.
From there head towards the causeway and walk towards the bridge over the cut, there is a Type 22 along the causeway and the last time I visited it had 2 foot of water inside.
Now for the lat pillbox go across the bridge and follow the footpath to the village, head on out towards Abingdon and as you pass the old post office you come to a field where a Type 22 is well hidden in the undergrowth, looked very messy in there when I visited.
That’s it for Pillboxes though if you go to Old Culham bridge you can view the bases of where two used to be built right on the bridge., they even build an extension off the bridge to accommodate one which was a Type 28A facing towards the river,
The built out section for the Type 28A
the second could only have been a Type 28. You can see where the gun outriggers would have fitted in the slots as they are still in the bridge filled with soil.
The last pillbox would have been in Abingdon but that has been removed years ago but I did manage to screen gab a photo from a Video a guy I work with showed me in a You Tube film made in 1954 & taken along the Thames near Abingdon it shows a Type 22 on the bank near some houses. This was the last one on this section of the Thames Stopline. It can be seen around 3.44 min in.
You can read the Sulham Valley section here