'Walking through Christ Church meadows one summer's evening, I saw Christ Church students being punted in full evening dress from Magdalen Bridge to their Summer Ball at Christ Church. although there were more colourful shots, I had to choose one where the subject was the punting rather than any individual. ' J J Marshall
Punting on Oxford’s rivers Cherwell, Isis (the stretch of river between Folly Bridge and the boathouses) and Thames, is a popular summer pastime and the punts can be hired at Magdalen Bridge, Folly Bridge and the Cherwell Boathouse in north Oxford.
Punts are a native Thames craft and were originally oak-framed working vessels used for ferrying, barge-work, dredging, fishing or light river transport. In the late 19th century, the number of working punts declined, and today’s pleasure punt of varnished mahogany emerged. Elsewhere on the Thames (and in Cambridge) punts are punted bow first, but in Oxford, they are punted stern first. The poles used to propel and steer the punt are 16 feet long.
The River Cherwell is a substantial tributary of the River Thames and the two rivers skirt opposite sides of Oxford: the Thames comes in from the north-west through Binsey and Osney to Folly Bridge, and the Cherwell from the north-east alongside Summertown and Marston, through University Parks to Magdalen Bridge where it flows as two streams through the University Botanic Garden, and along Christ Church Meadow until joining the Thames (Isis) at different ends of the college boathouses and finally exiting Oxford together.