Thursday, September 5, 2013

Day 16: Kelmscott to Cricklade

Despite the torrential rain during the night I woke refreshed and ready to face a long walk today. Everyone was very chatty at breakfast but there were no walkers going my way. In fact there were no walkers at all staying there last night just myself, everyone else had arrived by car.

As it was early, the water was so still creating perfect reflections.

Doesn't look as though anyone is awake yet.

Buscot Lock is the smallest lock on the Thames at 33m long and was opened in 1790


There is a spider's web stretching right across this part of the weir and it was full of juicy bugs just waiting to be eaten.
You can see the invasive Himalayan balsam taking over the riverbanks
This is one of my favourite views of the river, taken from the bridge over the weir

Looking back, after having just walked around a huge bend in the river, I can see the 13th cent church in Buscot village.

Bloomer's hole footbridge. Although it looks like an ordinary wooden bridge it is actually made from steel and clad in wood. It is the newest footbridge over the Thames as part of the continuous Thames path. It was put in place in 2000, with the help of a chinook helicopter.

This is St John's Bridge. The first bridge was built here in 1229. This one was built in 1886.

Just on from the bridge is St John's Lock. This is the last of the locks that I am going to see on the river Thames. It is no surprise that thisis also the highest lock at 76m above sea level.

The statue of 'Old Father Thames' was commissioned for the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1854. When the Palce burned down in 1936 it was placed at the source of the Thames. However, to ensure its safe keeping it was moved in 1974 to St John's lock.

About 1 mile from the lock the spire of  St Lawrence's church in Lechlade comes into view.

Halfpenny Bridge at Lechlade.

I left the Thames path here for a short time to explore the market town of Lechlade. It is a very attractive town with many of its properties being built with the honey coloured Cotswold stone.

Spotted this unusual post box embedded in the wall. This is from the reign of George VI, the father of the present Queen. 

In St Lawrence church which was built in 1452, this stained glass window had  been dismantled piece by piece and cleaned. The colours were so vibrant that this window looked as though it had just been created rather than being hundreds of years old.
A sculptured relief of St Agatha dating back to the mid 1400s.

Returning to the path I walk back over Halfpenny bridge, so named as that was the toll cost for people wanting to cross the bridge.

Tolls ceased in 1839 for pedestrians and for vehicles in 1875 but the stone toll cottage still remains.
Time to continue on my way.

The river widens along here to allow a turning point for barges as it is no longer navigable for large craft beyond Lechlade. It was here that barges would be loaded with Cotswold stone and taken to London to be used for such iconic buildings as St Paul's cathedral and Windsor Castle.

Inglesham Roundhouse. Behind the cottage is the roundhouse which is where the lock keeper lived. This is the start of the Thames and Severn canal which for various reasons was abandoned in the 1930s.

Just around the bend of the river a lane takes you into Lower Inglesham.

At the end ofthe lane is the church of St John The Baptist, built in the early 12th cent. Walking into these old churches I feel part of the history. I cannot help but be aware of walking in the footsteps of worshippers going back almost 1000 years.

There are unusual box pews that are about 400 years old.
On the walls are paintings and words from the scriptures that date from the 13th to the 19th cents

This sculptured relief of the Madonna and child was created during Saxon times.


The restoration of the church began in the late 19th cent with the help of William Morris who loved the art and architecture of the Middle Ages.

After leaving Inglesham there was a long walk away from the river. It took me along the main A341 road.

Then across farmland.
Between fields.

Yet more fields and hedgerows.

Then more farmland

At this point I was convinced I had gone wrong. I must have covered 3-4miles. Hadn't seen anyone since I left Lechlade a few hours ago, which was very unusual. I had also miscalculated the amount of water I had, as I'd hoped to top up somewhere but there was no sign of life anywhere. The day was very hot and humid and I really needed a long drink.

Eventually I was walking beside a stream which had dried up in places. Was this all that was left of the Thames?
But the water flow increased until it looked a bit more like a small river again.

Finally I reached the village of Castle Eaton and was so relieved to get to The Red Lion before it closed at 3pm. The landlady kindly filled up my water bottle whilst I sat in the garden with a very large glass of lime and soda water.

The gardens of the pub run right down to the river.

Also in the village is the 12th cent church of St Mary the virgin.
It has a very unusual little spire which they think dates back to the 13th cent.

Leaving the village of Castle Eaton, the path follows the riverbank.


From these photos you can see how the river meanders through the countryside.

Even though the river isn't navigable in places now, the swans are having no difficulty.

Really?  And I have to cross this field! After an anxious look in the field I could see no sign of a bull. Maybe this was the farmer's idea of a joke.

Under the road bridge, I liked the way the sunlight reflected off the water  onto the concrete.

Once across this concrete farmer's bridge and the meadow I was at the end of today's walk in Crichlade.

Ahh. I found the hotel easily enough but did not expect this welcome. I must confess I read this notice time and time again looking for a reference to myself and where I was suppose to spend the night!

Luckily there was a pub in the village which had a room free.


  1. You have visited some nice churches I love that little one called St John, I see some more visits coning up for my blogs. Lucky you found a place in Crichlaid

  2. It sounds like it is sometimes hard to follow the path. I would have got lost for sure. What an ending, no room at the inn. My niece lives in Lechlade.It looks pretty country there.


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