Walks Around Lechlade
Come and explore the many footpaths in and around Lechlade.On Wednesday evenings throughout the summer there will be evening walks exploring the many footpaths and rights of way in and around Lechlade.
Starting on Wednesday 1st June and running each week until the end of August the walks last about 2 hours and leave from Barclays Bank in Lechlade High Street at 7pm sharp. The first couple of weeks will feature slightly shorter walks with longer walks later in the summer as the evenings lengthen. So if you haven’t walked for a while or just want to see if this is for you then the early walks are a good opportunity to find out.
All walks cover some rough ground and stinging nettles abound at this time of year so stout shoes and long trousers are recommended. Well behaved dogs are welcome, but must be kept on leads across farmland
Contact Sue Coakley 01367 253306 for more information or just turn up on the evening.
A Walk Around Lechlade
Leave the car park and go into the town centre and the market place. After visiting the church of St Lawrence follow Shelley’s Walk, through the churchyard, past the school and across a field to follow a hedge lined path to the main road. Turn right passing The Trout public house and over the St Johns Bridge, one of the earliest bridges to cross the River Thames built in the 13th century.
Take the small gateway on the right and follow the steps down to St Johns Lock. Here is a statue of Old Father Thames brought to the lock side from the head of the River Thames at Trewsbury Meadow in 1974 after the monument was vandalized. Go past the lock, through the gate and follow the Thames National Trail to Ha’penny Bridge. Along the river there is a good view of the church across the meadow.
Go through the arch of the bridge and continue along the river bank passing a foot bridge over the river. Just across the river is one of several canal round houses of the Thames and Severn Canal which joins the Thames at this point. Continue along the river and over several stiles to reach a driveway. Turn right along the drive to the small church of St. John The Baptist at Inglesham. The church was preserved by William Morris, who lived at nearby Kelmscott Manor.
Retrace the route back along the river to the foot bridge which is now crossed to go along the bank of the River Colne, for a short distance and then right to follow a track to a junction. Go right and follow the well defined path over several stiles to reach the main road on the outskirts of the town. Turn right and continue through the town to return to the car.
Lechlade and the Thames
You are never far from the river on this route, centred on a once bustling crossroads in a quiet corner bordering Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.
Distance 5 miles (8km)
Minimum time 2hrs
Level of difficulty Easy
Paths Fields, tracks and road, 8 stiles
Landscape Water-meadows, river and village
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 170 Abingdon
Start/finish SU 214995
Dog friendliness Good but many swans and ducks beside rivers
Parking Lechlade main street or square
Public toilets On Burford Street in Lechlade
1 From the handsome Market Square walk west along the High Street and then left along Thames Street. Look around and you will see the high, slender spire of the majestic parish church, a constant presence throughout this walk even as the route strays into Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. The spire was perfectly described by the 16th-century writer John Leland as a ‘pratie pyramis of stone’.
2 Halfpenny Bridge is a toll bridge that opened in 1792 – the toll house is still standing. Cross this bridge and, at the end, drop down some steps on the right to the riverbank. Walk ahead, with the river to your right, for just over ½ mile (800m) until, immediately after a bridge across the Thames, you see an old roundhouse among the trees on the far bank. Here the River Coln joins the Thames, alongside the now silted-up Thames and Severn Canal.
3 Continue along the riverbank, cross a footbridge over a stream and head across the field to find a stile to the left of a house. The walk continues by turning left along the lane but, if you want to visit Inglesham church, turn right. This charming medieval building, much admired by William Morris, contains an exceptionally beautiful 13th-century Madonna and Child. At the end of the lane turn right, along the main road (making use of the verge). After 150yds (137m) turn left towards Buscot. In ¾ mile (1.2km) turn left along the drive of Buscot Wick Farm. Just before the farmyard turn right along a drive before cottages and then go across some grass to a gate. Turn left around a house and after 150yds (137m) go half right across a field to a gate. In the next field stay on the same line to another gate. Go through into a field, follow a hedge and then turn left through a gate and cross a field to the road. Go through a gate on the other side, cross the field to a stile and turn left into the churchyard.
4 Buscot church contains a striking east window by the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, a pulpit partly made from a Flemish triptych and some delightful paintings, part of the memorials to members of the Loveden family. Leave by the lychgate and follow the riverbank to emerge at Buscot Weir. Here turn right if you want to visit the estate village of Buscot, which now belongs to the National Trust; there is a small shop and a pub on its short main street. Otherwise walk on to pass Lock Cottage and make your way across a succession of locks and bridges to a stile. Do not cross this but turn left to follow the Thames Path. Follow the river’s meanderings until it brings you to a wooden bridge. Cross this and turn right to continue along the riverbank, noting the River Leach across to your right, which joins the River Thames just before St John’s Bridge.
5 Walk beneath St John’s Bridge, which dates from the 14th century and which takes its name from a former nearby priory. Pass a lock, noting the statue of Father Thames that was built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and which was moved here from its original site at Thames Head. Then enter the wide meadow ahead through a gate, the spire of Lechlade’s parish church towers out of the flat landscape. The parish church was the inspiration for Percy Shelley’s Summer Evening Meditation. Continue to the Halfpenny Bridge and Lechlade.