Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Thames Path - Castle Eaton to Lechlade

Date of Walk:  13 September 2014
Approx Distance of Walk:   10 km (6.25 miles)
 Parking/Transport: Memorial Hall in Lechlade GL7 3AY 
Taxi from Lechlade to Castle Eaton
Starting Point: Castle Eaton
Finishing Point: Ha'penny Bridge, Lechlade 

It has to be said that this stretch of the Thames Path doesn't involve the Thames to any great extent. There are a few places where you get a glimpse of it, but much of it is well away from the river.

We start off in the village of Castle Eaton, to which we were lucky enough to share a taxi from Lechlade with another couple who were headed to Cricklade for a longer walk than us. They dropped us off a short distance from The Red Lion in the village.


The Thames Path is well signposted through the village.


But the Thames is nowhere to be seen. The narrow lanes lead us through farmland...


... and the path eventually skirts the field at Blackford Farm.


At last we reach the river!


But it is only for a couple of hundred yards before we are back crossing fields again.
As we come to a road by Bridge Farm, the Thames Path is signposted to the right. However feeling starved of the sight of the river, we turn left instead towards Hannington Bridge...


... where we find a fairly quiet place to sit ...


... and enjoy a spot of lunch by the river.


After lunch we return to the way-marked path which turns left off the road and down another narrow lane...


... and eventually across some more fields!


And yet more fields.


The Thames Path now takes a turn for the worse along a busy road. There are notices up beforehand warning walkers to take care or better still take the bus along this section. The bus timetable is not indicating the imminent arrival of any buses...


... so we walk for a mile along the road, where there are sometime only grass verges to walk on.


Finally we turn off to the left down a lane towards Inglesham Church. Crossing the busy road in order to do this is hazardous - you'd think at least a pedestrian crossing could be installed to help the Thames Path walkers. (At least we were fortunate to spot the turn-off. Some people we had met and chatted to earlier missed the turning and walked another mile right into Lechlade, thereby missing the best part of this walk. We met them in the teashop later!)


The historic 13th century church of St John the Baptist is now owned by the Churches Conservation Trust.
You can read about it here.


The interior, restored in victorian times to it's former style, has pews arranged in boxes rather than the more traditional rows. A bee was quietly resting on the edge of one of the wooden pew boxes and, of course, Mr PL put his hand out to rest on the same pew in exactly the same spot, with painful consequences!


We left the church and walked across the meadow...


... and at last we reached the river again.


We are just about at the highest navigable point for boats of this size.


We follow the path along the river now and it is becoming busier the closer we get to Lechlade. We can just see the church spire in the distance.


The riverside teashops come into view...


... and we walk across the Ha'penny Bridge to get to one.


We finish our walk with tea and cake admiring the view of the river.

2 comments:

  1. This was some trek you made along the Thames Path. I adore visiting old churches, though I freely admit I have never had the privilege of seeing any as old as St. John the Baptist. (Sigh)Hopefully in my future. The Thames Walk looks to be an awesome place to visit. I am so glad you shared your trip and photos!

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  2. Oh, the history that old church could share......and tea and cake by the river sounds good after such a trek.

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