Cricklade to Lechlade.
We arrived at Castle Eaton just in time for a coffee in the delightful Red Lion. From here the Thames Path is away from the river keeping to quiet lanes and tracks, enlivened by abundant Cow Parsley and the pungent aroma of Hawthorn [May] blossom . Cuckoos were making themselves heard. It was on this stretch we met two interesting characters. One was virtually running holding an umbrella to fend off the showers. He turned out to be from Cumbria doing the Path in rapid lightweight fashion with his wife’s back up. The logo on his umbrella, LDWA, maybe explained his speed. The other chap, who we had more time to talk to, was the archetypal hardened backpacker. A straggly grey beard, a large rucksack with dangling appendages and a wealth of knowledge, he was busy getting water out of the river to filter! We look forward to further meetings with the tortoise and the hare.
For reasons unknown there is no access to a long stretch of the Thames hereabouts (seeing some of the expensive property I can guess why) and one is forced to walk along the verge of a busy fast road for almost a mile. A disgrace for a National Trail.
At Inglesham however there is St.John the Baptist church, what a treasure. A medieval church saved from 19th century ‘improvement‘ by William Morris. The interior is centuries old with wooden box pews and medieval wall paintings and inscriptions. A unique example of times gone by.
Also at Inglesham the redundant Thames and Severn Canal leaves the river near The Round House, Several round houses were built on this canal for the lock-keepers – horses were stabled on the ground floor with people living above. As we proceed boats start appearing and the river takes on a busier character.