Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Thames Path - Cricklade to the Source - Part 1

Date of Walk:  27 June 2012
Approx Distance of Walk: 8 km (5 miles) (There and back)
 Parking/Transport: Parking in Cricklade High Street

 Water Eaton to Cricklade North Meadow.

This is the first of four posts covering our walks from slightly downstream of Cricklade to the Source of the Thames in Gloucestershire. We had 4 walks covering this stretch of the river and I had originally planned to cover the whole distance in one post, but I don't like over-long posts, so I decided to split it into the 4 walks. 

Two of the walks, this first one and the final one (to the Source) were actually done last summer (2012). It was the wettest summer for many years in the UK, and we were not able to do the bits in between due to flooding. We went back to the area a couple of weeks ago to fill in the gaps and those are parts 2 and 3 in this series.

So here goes. This first walk, as I said, we did last summer. Originally the plan had been to walk from Cricklade into the Cotswold Water Park, following the path through there. However, after a short while our way was flooded, so we walked back to Cricklade and made our way in the other direction downstream for as far as we felt like walking, and then returning to our car in Cricklade.

This first picture is as far downstream as we got. The river here is quite narrow, although there is also a lot of water about due to the recent heavy rains.

We had walked as far as Water Eaton Farm, approximately, where we were walking on the south side of the river.

This part of the river felt quite lonely and remote. We hardly saw a soul and there was nothing much for company except the wildlife.

We crossed this little wooden bridge at Water Eaton to the north side of the river.

We certainly had the impression that the river was flowing much higher and faster than usual.

This little bridge is the Eysey Bridge, but seemed to be blocked off, maybe due to the flooding.

It was not far from the pretty town of Cricklade, where we had left our car.

From Cricklade, we set off into the North Meadow, which is renowned for it's abundance of snake's head fritillaries in springtime.This year we were looking on the fritillary watch website in hope of going to see them, but due to the flooding, the meadow had not been cut last year. This means that the tall vegetation smothers the small flowers and there were almost no fritillaries this year.

Our way was finally blocked at this gate in the meadow and we had to abandon our walk in this direction.(The river is on the left of this picture.)

We returned to this spot a year later, which is the subject of the next post.

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