Gloucestershire GL7 3AB
Most visitors to Britain know that the navigable tidal waterway running through London is the River Thames but how many know its source. Old Father Thames starts life as a trickle of water emerging from the ground in the Cotswold hills at Thames Head.
It winds through valleys and meadows, its volume increasing as it is joined by quaintly named Cotswold rivers such as the Coln, the Leach and the Cherwell. It is controlled by locks and weirs as it meanders on its way to towards Oxford, past Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace to London.
Lechlade is the highest town to which the River Thames is navigable by relatively large craft including canal narrowboats. The highest point of navigation is St John’s Lock, three-quarters of a mile (686 metres) downstream of Lechlade.
The little town is a popular venue for tourism and river-based activities. It has a 15th century church and traditional Cotswold limestone buildings. All manner of boats can be hired, larger ones for trips downstream or rowing boats and kayaks for exploring hidden hamlets such as Inglesham Hamlet, upstream.
Where the A361 highway enters the town from the south it crosses the River Thames on Halfpenny Bridge, a late 18th century toll bridge. The ha’penny toll is no longer collected but the toll collector’s house still stands on the Lechlade side of the bridge.
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: External Link
Just before the southern approach to the bridge on the left hand side of the road is the entrance to a car park and the river bank. There is no nicer place, on a fine summer’s day, to enjoy a picnic or sit on the seats provided and watch the swans and boats glide by. There is plenty of open grass for youngsters to let off steam.
We suggest you take a short walk across the bridge into the town and buy an ice-cream and indulge yourself! - We did.
The Riverside Park is also the location of the Cotswold Canals Trust little launch Inglesham which conducts leisurely half hour cruises along the delightful river. See the article titled Lechlade Boat Trips in this website. To find out more go to Web: Inglesham Boat Trips External Link
Contact & Further Information
Lechlade-upon-Thames External Link
Lechlade is at the junction of the A316 and A417 roads.
Google Map - Lechlade-upon-Thames