A leap into the Thames from Lechlade bridge
We went for a jaunt this afternoon having been told about an interesting exhibition of sculpture in the Cotswold village of Quenington. It involved a cross country trip along one of my favourite roads, an old drovers track called the Welsh Way, which we joined at Barnsley to proceed eastwards. The track would once have been the route for Welsh sheep and possibly cattle, and maybe even geese and ducks, to be taken as food for Londoners in centuries past.
Today it is exceedingly quiet, as long distance traffic avoids these small but wide roadways. The few cars I did notice I am sure were all going to and from the exhibition, as when we arrived in Quenington, which once had a preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers, there were hordes of parked cars on the village green. Our immediate reaction was to leave, which we did, as the last thing we wanted was to be stuck in a Poshtershire Sunday gathering. Woodpeckers suggested going on to Lechlade, as she had seen a road sign at the edge of the village, so I carried along the route of the old drovers road the extra few miles to where there is a strategically important bridge over the River Thames.
Lechlade is always busy because of the number of roads which lead to the bridge at the heart of the town. We parked and walked a few hundred yards to the bridge, which is single track with traffic lights limiting the number of cars on it at any one time. As soon as we got onto the bridge with cameras out and ready, we saw views downstream of the meanders of the river across wide open meadows. To the west the river narrows and this is nearly the last navigable point for larger boats, and there are many moored permanently in clusters. It was from here that the Thames and Severn canal was built westwards to link up through our valley in Stroud to the Severn and the extensive Midlands canal system. One day before too long we hope the canal will be re-opened all the way to Lechlade.
There were many people strolling along the river bank and its meadows, and a pub was doing brisk business. A large gathering of swans was chasing any possible suppliers of food which was rather sad to see, but inevitable wherever tourism is dominant. Boats of various sizes were plying too and fro, and rowers in hired boats were splashing about rather ineffectively.
This young man arrived on the bridge just after we did, with the obvious intention of leaping into the water. In fact he was rather nervous, not surprisingly, and was being taunted by a bunch of his friends on the river bank. Eventually they came up too and they all jumped off, avoiding the boats and swans and ducks that were shuffling about on the water under the busy bridge. I have posted a shot of the bridge from the river bank on the west side here on my Blipfolio. It is very pretty there.