Friday, 26 November 2010

Thame The James Fig Pub The Pheonix Trail

Thame – The James Figg pub – The Phoenix Trail
(This walk can take you 7 miles in both directions should you wish)
I guess I had better admit right from the start that The Phoenix Trail will not be included in my top ten walks. It follows the route of a disused railway line, that once connected Oxford to the market town of Thame and Princes Risborough. You reach it by travelling from Nelson Street, Thame, which leads to Windmill Road and the trail, or going to Thame Park Road, Thame.
The railway line through Thame remained open until 1991, and then was converted into a cycle and pedestrian route which means that it is straight – straight – straight, with only a few gentle curves, and you have to return the way you came.
 To be really honest it is not the most scenic route either, as the first half a mile from Thame passes factories and industrial estates, but once the countryside emerges from behind the hedgerow things improve slightly.

One of the many seats along the way


The one fascinating thing about this seven mile route is the collection of 30 sculptures built by furniture students from Thame’s Rycotewood College, that are placed along the way – many of which are weird and wacky seats, designed to reflect the trail’s railway heritage and provide walkers with a place to rest.

We met a cat along the way

We walked just 2 ½ half miles along the path and then returned the way we had come. It was a chilly day, yet we encountered more people and cyclists on this route than any other we have ever walked. We even discovered a tabby cat sitting on the route, just by the footpath leading to Kingsey on the left hand side, watching those who walked past. This cat puzzled Pythius somewhat, particularly when it hissed as we passed. The cats he lives with never hiss.

Pythius inspects the sculpture

The pub we chose was the James Figg, which stands in the centre of Thame, opposite the Market Square, which must rate as one of the most dog-friendly pubs in the country. Pythius was asked if he would like a bowl of water (which was delivered immediately) and was even offered a dried pig’s ear to keep him munching while Uncle John and I ordered our lunch.

The James Figg is a proper pub, which is why I like it so much and as it’s a free house there’s always a great assortment of local real ales, and a warm welcome to all that enter. Uncle john and I chose Purity Brewery's Mad Goose, a bright coppery brew that comes with a lingering dry finish. A perfect lunchtime drink actually.
The food is great too, because although the menu is basic, each dish is cooked to order and garnished with care. I have eaten there often and never been disappointed.  
Uncle John & Pythius at the pub

Pythius has his say

The James Figg
Helen is right, this was not a walk that will be remembered with joy. To be honest it was dull, dull, dull, mainly because as we entered the Trail, Helen noticed there was a sign requesting that dogs should be kept on their leads! So – I had to do five miles on the lead! Not good. The cat did amuse me somewhat - how strange to see a moggy just sitting there on the side of the trail. and how strange that he should hiss at me as I rather like cats. It  obviously didn't know that.
The pub with its warm log fire and free pig's ears for visiting dogs was great.. I was treated like a real customer and there was loads of room for  me to place my paws under the table. But the walk? No not the best. I just hate being on a lead all the time as Helen knows only too well.

1 comment:

  1. It annoys me too that all dogs are judge by the worse examples. Unless its busy I tend to ignore such signs because I know my dog better than some stranger and I know the second I call him he will come to heel. So if anyone does say anything I would tell then he was on a verbal lead. I don't suppose the argument would hold much water but its the truth. You do have to be careful if there are cyclists as they tend to sneak up on you and make you jump so you could end up getting run over or have a heart attack! I think next to the dog sign there should be one that says all cyclists should wear cow bells!!