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Osney Lock

osney lock hydro, osney lock
Osney Lock is a lock on the River Thames in Oxford, England, where the village or island of Osney is next to the river

The first lock was built of stone by Daniel Harris for the Thames Navigation Commission in 17902

Beside the lock to the southern side is Osney pool beside which is an Environment Agency base for maintaining the river The weir is upstream alongside the navigation channel in two parts and feeds the Osney pool

To the south and southwest are Osney Mill Marina and Osney Cemetery Oxford railway station on the Botley Road is close by to the northwest


  • 1 History
  • 2 Access to the lock
  • 3 Reach above the lock
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Sources
  • 6 External links
  • 7 References


Osney Lock from the north

The main navigation channel was formerly on the branch of the river known as Bulstake Stream further west3 The present stream was developed in mediaeval times by the monks of Osney Abbey on the west side of the island then known as Osney, to serve as a millstream for Osney Mill, in a manner similar to that at Abingdon There was an ancient weir, the property of the Abbey on the site, and a pound lock was first considered in 1787 The stream became the main navigation channel when the lock was built in 1790 Daniel Harris used prisoner labour from Oxford jail to give the cheapest quote for the work4 The last rebuilding of the lock was in 1905

Access to the lockedit

The lock can be reached a short way down the towpath from Osney Bridge on the A420 Botley Road on the way west out of the centre of Oxford

Reach above the lockedit

The river passes a former electricity generating station and is crossed by Osney Bridge near Oxford railway station On the eastern bank are built up parts of Oxford After a stretch of allotments on the western bank and the backs of houses on the eastern bank there is the curious water crossroads - "Four Rivers" This provides a link to the Oxford Canal via the Sheepwash Channel5 in one direction and there is Bulstake Stream in the other direction The river runs through willow banks until it reaches Fiddler's Island There used to be a weir and flash lock here; now there is the rainbow shaped Medley Footbridge crossing the main channel On the other side of the island is Castle Mill Stream, an old navigation channel that runs to the east closer to the centre of Oxford rejoining the Thames below the lock On the eastern bank is the open ground of Port Meadow as far as Wolvercote

There are navigation transit markers alongside Port Meadow upstream of Medley Boat station, to allow river users to check their speed A powered boat should not pass between the markers in under one minute

The Thames Path crosses to the Oxford side at Osney Bridge and then crosses Fiddler's Island and Medley Footbridge returning to the western bank to continue to Godstow Lock

Oxford shows its back to the river below Four Rivers Port Meadow looking upstream from Medley Footbridge

See alsoedit

  • Locks on the River Thames


  • Davies, Mark; Robinson, Catherine 2003 2001 A Towpath Walk in Oxford Oxford: Oxford Towpath Press ISBN 0-9535593-1-9 
  • Thacker, Fred S 1968 1920 The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs Newton Abbot: David and Charles 

External linksedit

  • Osney Lock at Geograph
Next lock upstream River Thames Next lock downstream
Godstow Lock
387 km 240 mi 6
Osney Lock
Grid reference: SP504058
Iffley Lock
373 km 232 mi6

Coordinates: 51°44′55″N 1°16′17″W / 5174864°N 127135°W / 5174864; -127135


  1. ^ a b c "Environment Agency Dimensions of locks on the River Thames" web page Environmental Agency 8 November 2012 Retrieved 17 November 2012  Dimensions given in metres
  2. ^ Davies & Robinson, 2003, pages 76-77
  3. ^ Crossley, Alan; Elrington, CR eds; Chance, Eleanor; Colvin, Christina; Cooper, Janet; Day, CJ; Hassall, TG; Selwyn, Nesta 1979 A History of the County of Oxford, Volume 4: Communications Victoria County History 
  4. ^ Thacker, 1920/1968, page 114-116
  5. ^ "River Thames Sheepwash Channel" UK: CanalPlanAC Retrieved 15 September 2012  External link in |publisher= help
  6. ^ a b "Environment Agency Distances between locks on the River Thames" web page Environmental Agency 19 November 2012 Retrieved 20 November 2012  Distances given in km

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Osney Lock

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