Pinkhill Lock, Eynsham, Witney, Oxfordshire OX29 4JH
Time was when only wannabe musicians and artists lived on islands in the Thames. Nowadays, in contrast, the river’s various isles, aits and eyots are colonised by a rather exclusive coterie who won’t admit outsiders, no matter how bohemian their credentials. Happily, there is still a way to get your piece of fluvial island action, and for less than a tenner a night too. The island at Pinkhill Lock is just large enough to accommodate the lock-keeper’s house and a small copse, one part of which, delineated by a couple of small signs with a simple tent on them, is the campsite. Should you amble past the lock-keeper’s abode, with its lovingly tended garden (one of the principal qualifications to be a lock-keeper is the possession of green fingers), and through a gap in the hedge, you’ll find a new wooden shed inside which is a small bathroom containing a clean and modern shower and loo. But that may be all the walking you’ll get around to doing, for this is definitely a site for loafing around on. You can sit on the weir and become mesmerised by the water falling headlong over it, keep watch for the pleasure boats and barges phutting up- and downstream, or merely marvel at the patterns the sun paints upon the surface of the river. If you have a yen to be up and doing, there are several footpaths – including the Thames Path – leading off from the site, and a wildliferich wetland area right next door.
Please note: This campsite is not accessible by car. It’s a hidden gem for walkers, cyclists and canoeists.