The young River Thames flows through the Lower Mill Estate where Daisy Chain is and so it is easy to explore the river back to its source (about 5 miles away) or downstream towards Lechlade. The young River Thames gives no clues about the mighty famous river that it will become. This picture is taken just upstream from the Lower Mill Estate. The river flows through open fields which are often home to sheep. These sheep decided the grass was greener on the other side and we loved watching them jump across the river!
There are 45 locks on the non-tidal River Thames, each with its own individual history and unique personality. St. John's Lock is the furthest upstream lock on the River Thames. It can be found near Lechlade. The lock derives its name from a priory which was established nearby in the 1200's, but which no longer exists. The lock was built of stone in 1790. Outside the lock house a statue of Old Father Thames can be found. It was made in 1851 for the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, but has had several homes since then and took up residence at St. John's Lock in 1974.
Buscot Lock, near Lechlade, is the smallest of the 45 locks on the River Thames. Before the lock was built in 1790 there was a flash weir, where boats would have to 'run the rapid' downstream. It must have been fun to watch! In 1859 the lock (which at the time was part of a large estate) was purchased by Robert Campbell with money he had acquired in the Australian goldfields. He fitted water wheels to irrigate his estate. Within 10 years he had sold up as a result of overspending and bad luck. Later owners, Thomas Cook, the travel agents gave the site to the National Trust. The National Trust have created a lovely picnic area. Kingfishers, kites and otters are among the frequent sightings.
The most common topic of converstation at The Thames Head Inn near Kemble is not politics, or even sport, but rather the source of the River Thames. The pub takes its name from the place, about half a mile away, where the river begins its 154 mile long journey to London Bridge. The source of the Thames is not quite as simple as that – as the river is ground water fed, the precise source depends on the ground water level, and as such can vary by a few miles between summer and winter.
The Thames Head Inn serves a varied menu of fresh home cooked food and visitors can enjoy a drink or meal enjoying relaxed atmosphere of the pub, complete with its various nooks and crannies and open fires or outside in the garden.
The Thames path is a long distance trail which follows the mighty River Thames for 184 miles! It starts off at the Thames Head, just 5 miles from Daisy Chain, and meanders through villages and towns before finally reaching London.
Its source, the Thames Head is often dry – as the river is ground water fed, the precise source depends on the ground water level. It meanders slowly through beautiful meadows grazed by cattle and sheep and gives few clues of it's final destination.