'Thames Waters V 15 Miles downstream, near Cricklade' from the series 'Sweet Thames Run Softly' by Quintin Lake. Prints available.
"Thames Waters V 15 Miles downstream, near Cricklade"
from the series " Sweet Thames Run Softly" by Quintin Lake. Prints available.

Ashton Keynes Map 1920
Fred Thacker’s Map, Ashton Keynes to Cricklade, 1920.

From here on I have written as if the entire way is navigable.  It is not (or at the very least not easy, even for a canoe at times).  After the Cricklade Town Bridge the Thames leaves Cricklade going into the North Meadow Nature Reserve.

North Meadow Nature Reserve

Thames above Cricklade
A few yards above Cricklade Town Bridge.

Near Cricklade lantern slide 1883-1906, W.C.Hughes, research by Dr Wilson, courtesy of Pat Furley

Cricklade Weir & Footbridge

This is the first weir going up the Thames not passable by means of a lock.
The Thames Path crosses over.

Site of West Mill

Right bank, where West Mill Lane meets the river, marked on Fred Thacker's map above.

1828: Westall -

The River is navigable to West Mill for barges of six or seven tons.

There is a weir just above the site of West Mill

1919: Old Ordnance Survey Map showing Canal and railway crossings.

Site of North Wiltshire Canal Aqueduct

1897: Latton Aqueduct, James Dredge -

Latton Aqueduct, James Dredge, 1897
Latton Aqueduct, James Dredge, 1897
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D230427a


North Wiltshire Canal Aqueduct.

1910: Thames Valley Villages by Charles George Harper

The navigation of these first few miles of the Thames was long ago considered to be so irretrievably a thing of the past, that it was permitted the constructors of the North Wilts Canal, in crossing the stream, one mile above Cricklade, to build a brick bridge or aqueduct so low-pitched across it that the crown of the arch scarcely appears above water, and effectually stops any attempt to get even a canoe through.

1920: Fred Thacker -

The aqueduct of the North Wilts Canal crosses the River, indignant Thames running beneath it through culverts.  The canal you can cross, if tramping, at a lock a little northward.

Site of Railway Bridge

Midland and South Western Railway Bridge.
1897: James Dredge -

Midland and South Western Railway Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
Midland and South Western Railway Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D230426a

1920: Fred Thacker -

There is no footway beneath the M. & S. W. J. railway bridge;  you must cross over the embankment if you are afoot.

The railway now dismantled and used as a cycle track.

Site of Weir

And then the site of a previous weir just above the railway crossing.
1871: Taunt - Weir “the sill and sheeting still in fair order”,.
1920: Fred Thacker -

About half a mile (below Hailstone Hill) [a weir] - I could find no surviving relics about 1910, except some stones in the bed which may mark the site.  Old weir sills were often used as a foundation for stepping stones.

Hailstone Hill Footbridge?

1920: Fred Thacker -

[Footbridge of] substantial timber on stone pillars and carries a path across joining South Cerney and Cricklade.

Bournlake Weir?

1921: Fred Thacker - "Here is a solid bridge of two arches: one of stone and one of brick"

Leigh Bridge?

1920: Fred Thacker -

At Leigh are two bridges: one three arched of stone, one of timber.

Waterhay Bridge

'Thames Waters IV 5 Miles downstream, near Ashton Keynes' from the series 'Sweet Thames Run Softly' by Quintin Lake. Prints available.
"Thames Waters IV 5 Miles downstream, near Ashton Keynes"
from the series " Sweet Thames Run Softly" by Quintin Lake. Prints available.

1871: Taunt -

In winter and very early spring it is possible to get up the river to [ Waterhay ] bridge.

1883: Waterhay Bridge, Henry Taunt -

Waterhay Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1883
Waterhay Bridge, Henry Taunt, 1883
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT4248

1895: Waterhay Bridge rebuilt
1897: Waterhay Bridge, James Dredge -

Waterhay Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
Waterhay Bridge, James Dredge, 1897
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D230425a

1911: W Parker had a lantern slide of Waterhay Bridge (D230405a) - but oh Mr Parker you are a cheat! What you have there is Henry Taunt's picture of 1883 - and not the bridge as it was by 1911 - so I'm not going to show your picture!
1920: Fred Thacker -

It is at Waterhay Bridge, seven miles from the source, that the tradition of serious navigation begins.  When you first cross this bridge, and gaze down upon the brook that trickles beneath it through forget-me-not and cress, it is difficult to believe that a traffic of small barges once forced its way hither. If however you regard the width of the channel and the height of the banks below the bridge, capable of more feet of water than there usually are inches, you may be inclined to accept the tradition.

There is parking here.

Swill Brook

Ashton Keynes lantern slide 1883-1906, W.C.Hughes, research by Dr Wilson, courtesy of Pat Furley

Right Bank
The River splits.  The Swill Brook is straight on – but a branch of the Thames flows into it after half a mile.  In the Right bank stream are some tortuous meanders; and then three bridges.

High Road Bridge

Derry Road Bridge

Gosditch Road Footbridge

On the Left bank side the branch of the Thames splits away which joins the Swill Brook (see above).

Derry Fields Bridge

Footbridge

Footbridge

The Thames path crosses to the Right bank.

Spine Road Bridge

Neigh Bridge

Neigh Bridge
Neigh Bridge, Somerford.

1327: Neigh Bridge built as the winter Crossing when the "summer ford" was not usable.

Neigh Bridge Country Park

Footbridge

Footbridge

Footbridge

Upper Mill Farm

Mill Weir?

1793: Ewen Mill -

Ewen Mill Boydell 1793
Ewen Mill. June 1, 1793. J. Farington R.A. delt. J.C. Stadler sculpt.
(Published) by J. & J. Boydell, Shakespeare Gally. Pall Mall & (No. 90) Cheapside (London)

Ewan Mill from ‘The Genius of the Thames’ by Thomas Love Peacock –

Sweet is thy course, and clear, and still,
By Ewan's old neglected mill:
Green shores thy narrow stream confine,
Where blooms the modest eglantine,
And hawthorn-boughs o'ershadowing spread,
To canopy thy infant bed.
Now peaceful hamlets wandering through,
And fields in beauty ever new,

1859: The first Mill -

First Thames Mill 1859
The first mill, 1859.

The Thames near Kemble, Ashley Bryant -

The Thames near Kemble, Ashley Bryant
The Thames near Kemble, Ashley Bryant

'Thames Waters III 3 Miles downstream, near Ewen' from the series 'Sweet Thames Run Softly' by Quintin Lake. Prints available.
"Thames Waters III 3 Miles downstream, near Ewen"
from the series " Sweet Thames Run Softly" by Quintin Lake. Prints available.

Overhead transmission wires.

Bridge

Under the Ewen to Poole Keynes Road, just south of Ewen.
After a mile the river runs close to the Kemble to Ewen Road.

Bridge

Under the Kemble to Ewen Road.

'Thames Waters II 2 Miles downstream, near Kemble' from the series 'Sweet Thames Run Softly' by Quintin Lake. Prints available.
"Thames Waters II 2 Miles downstream, near Kemble"
from the series " Sweet Thames Run Softly" by Quintin Lake. Prints available.

The A429 is approached at the point where a dismantled railway used to cross it.  The embankment remains.

Aerial View of Kemble
Aerial View of Kemble.

All Saints, Kemble

Kemble from ‘The Genius of the Thames’ by Thomas Love Peacock –

Where Kemble's wood-embosomed spire
Adorns the solitary glade,
And ancient trees, in green attire,
Diffuse a deep and pleasant shade,
Thy bounteous urn, light-murmuring, flings
The treasures of its infant springs,
And fast, beneath its native hill,
Impels the silver-sparkling rill,
With flag-flowers fringed and whispering reeds,
Along the many-colored meads.