A walk from the source of the River Thames


On 29 and 30 December, my wife Kath, our good friends Jon and Maggie, and I walked the Thames path, from its source in Gloucestershire, not far from Cirencester. We took a train to Kemble and got a cab to a lay-by not far from the source. We walked to Cricklade and stayed overnight there, at a hotel/pub called The White Hart. I’d recommend it.

Day one was beautifully sunny and freezing cold, with just a hint of mist in the air, which turned to fog as the evening drew in. Day two was full fog, which never really looked like clearing, until we came to the end of our walk, at Inglesham, a few miles from Lechlade. Thames path is a bit of a misnomer along the stretch we walked on day two, as you’re diverted away from the river for quite a few miles. Apparently you regain the river at Lechlade, where it is also starts to look more like the mighty river of Oxford, Reading and London.

It was a wonder to view the river in its infancy and the surrounding scenery was very beautiful. There’s a selection of photos here to give you a feel. If you can, try the walk yourself sometime.


This is the source! That unprepossessing pile of stones marks the spot. Sometimes there’s water in a pool. But clearly the action is taking place underground.



First view of the river. The combination of the cold, the sun and the kinetic energy of the water led to the mist seeming to rise from the river. Should be in Iceland!



Version 2


There is beauty in small things…



Near Ashton Keynes the river winds through a series of gravel pits. I loved the colours as the sun went down.




The mist began to form again.



Day Two. St Mary’s church in Cricklade is the oldest Catholic church, still in use as a Catholic church, in England.





It was a little warmer, and everywhere the frost began to melt.




I feel an Impressionist painting coming on…


That’s all folks!





About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
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9 Responses to A walk from the source of the River Thames

  1. dc says:

    nice pictures John-some times the part of the path you did is completely submerged so you got away with a good dry spell. I love this area and the stretch from here to Oxford is a really pleasant walk. I’ll bet the pubs felt wonderfully welcoming after your efforts in the cold weather. Happy New Year.

  2. Dood says:

    Lovely pictures, John, and that looked like a fabulous walk. The full whack, from source to sea, is certainly on my ever-growing bucket list. I love the fact that it flows only a few hundred yards from my home (ditto DC’s), and I certainly never take it for granted.

    And I do like the simplicity of the starting-point!

    • John S says:

      Yeah, we are planning to emulate the leader! A Lechlade to Oxford three-dayer maybe around Easter. Before that, Windsor to somewhere 12-13 miles downstream, taking in Runnymede. I’m keen to visit the Magna Carta museum on the way.

  3. Quite a walk, this!

    Wish you and yours a wonderful 2017!

  4. Victoria Elliott says:

    Hi John, only just got around to looking at your wonderful photos – thanks for sharing.

    If you only have a day, another lovely trip is out on train to Cookham (with time to take in Stanley Spencer stuff), and then walk to Marlow and home from there.

    Incidentally, the signpost at the start saying it’s 150 miles to the Thames Barrier made me realise how amazing my Mum and Dad were, when they did it in their early 80s!

    • John S says:

      Thanks Victoria. We walked the Thames by Bookham and Marlow last year. I never got around to blogging about it, but it was lovely. Respect to your parents doing the whole thing!

  5. Resa says:

    Wow! Very beautiful, John!

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