Into the Woods

But first, we had to get over the bridge.

A bridge that required tolls for various passengers:

IMG_4139On our nine mile walk through the Oxfordshire countryside yesterday, we encountered one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames upstream of London.

Swinford Toll Bridge is a beautiful functioning private toll bridge dating back to 1767.

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The bridge is governed by its own Act of Parliament.  It allows the bridge owner to collect tolls and makes the building of bridges across the river illegal for three miles either way up or down stream from Swinford. The owners do not pay tax on the revenue from the tolls as a perquisite set way back when by King George III.  The bridge was actually put up for sale in 2009 and was sold at auction for £1.08 million, remaining privately owned.

We crossed the bridge (free of charge as pedestrians) and headed into the beautiful countryside.  It was a perfect day for a country stroll.  The banks of the Thames were surprisingly colorful, with red accents more reminiscent of a Fall afternoon than a January morning.  The sun shone bright in the crisp mid-winter air.

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Once we ventured further into the woods, the chill that hung in the air provided a dusting of frost that made the fields glow with a silvery sheen that provided a stark contrast to the verdant fields.

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We were grateful for the chill because it kept the ground frozen beneath our feet, saving us from trodding through trenches of mud.

We walked along mostly quiet uninhabited trails, though we did run to this big guy.  He would have required a toll on that bridge long ago, qualifying as a “beaft” of sorts!

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This walk was the perfect anecdote to the January blues, warming our spirits and melting away the freeze of mid-winter duldrums.

This version of Into the Woods ended with our own

Happily Ever After.

 

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