Gloucestershire GL7 3NN
One of this writer’s favourite places in the Cotswolds is hidden down twisting lanes and comprises two little hamlets (Eastleach Martin and Eastleach Turville) facing each other across a crystal clear stream.
Ancient Clapper Bridge
Although the motorist crosses the little River Leach by an old stone bridge, pedestrians usually use the ancient ‘clapper’ bridge – a series of flat flagstones set on low piers. Very few of these medieval bridges remain in Britain and are remnants of a time when the country’s wealth rested on wool and hand-mined minerals transported to market by packhorse.
The Leach is a shallow, slow moving stream full of native watercress plants and bordered by yellow marsh marigolds.
Church of St Michael & St Martin
In the hamlet of Eastleach Martin, the ancient Church of St Michael & St Martin in the meadow, is no longer used but is open to the public and a tranquil spot to visit.
It is hard to believe that the 19th century Reformist preacher and joint leader of the Oxford Movement, John Keble, started his ministry in sleepy Eastleach Martin.
Keble regularly used the ‘clapper’ bridge to preach in St Andrew’s and it is now known as Keble’s Bridge.
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Church of St Andrew
Not more than 200 yards (183 metres) away, on the hill in Eastleach Turville, is the old Church of St Andrew and the War Memorial.
The beautiful Eastleach hamlets have not changed in 500 years and long may they remain so unspoiled. There are few facilities, just tranquillity.
4 miles (6.4km) north of Lechlade-upon-Thames, off A361 from Swindon or the A417 from Cirencester. Well signposted from the Cirencester/Lechlade Road (A417)
Google Map - Eastleach