Buscot Lock is the smallest lock on the Thames at 33m long and was opened in 1790
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.
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.
Tolls ceased in 1839 for pedestrians and for vehicles in 1875 but the stone toll cottage still remains.
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.
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.
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.
Yet more fields and hedgerows.
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.
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.
It has a very unusual little spire which they think dates back to the 13th cent.
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.