On Christmas Eve in 1874 there was a railway disaster near Thrupp.
Heavy snow lay on the ground, and a Great Western Train from London Paddington had added an extra coach at Oxford and left at 11:40 AM. The carriage was needed to deal with the crowds of people wanting to get to the Midlands for Christmas.
Passing Thrupp a wheel tyre on the additional coach broke and the carriage left the rails. The rest of the train plunged down an embankment beside the Oxford Canal. 31 passengers died in the crash. 60 were seriously injured.
We parked the car at Thrupp near Annie’s Tea Room.
We crossed the Oxford Canal and then went under the railway. The line was busy with both freight and passenger trains.
The path went through a plantation for a mile or so until emerging beside the meandering River Cherwell. The slim spire of the church in Kidlington could be seen across the fields and was visible for most of the walk. We crossed open meadows with horses, and after the village of Hampton Poyle, saw sheep and cows.
The route then took us to what remained of Hampton Gay. The 16th Century Manor House had burned down in 1887. There is still a farm with a number of cottages nearby.
By mistake, we went off the designated footpath at this point and ended up going under the railway through water and coming to a field with a notice saying ‘Bull in this Field.’
So we turned back and found the way we should have gone. The path took us under the railway, alongside the River Cherwell.
The last part of the walk was along the canal towpath ending back at Annie’s Tea Room where we enjoyed Sweet Potato Soup with bread and butter.
There were no boards or memorial to the 1874 railway disaster anywhere we could see.