Kemble Circular walk

The source of the Thames, an overgrown canal, quiet tracks, a pretty village, and the Thames path

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sun, 14-Aug-16 7

A new SWC expedition to unexplored territory - the source of the River Thames

SWC 256 Kemble circular – the source of the Thames
Wanted: a goodly number of stout-hearted men and women for SWC expedition to seek and discover the source of the river Thames.
Distance 16km (10m). Toughness – off the scale (oh alright then 2/10 ).

Note: Although an easy walk in terms of general terrain some paths will be overgrown.
Trains:
09.30 London Paddington – Swindon 10.38 (Platform 1); 10.47 Swindon (Platform 4) – Kemble 11.01.
Assemble Kemble station exit with full kit and provisions for departure at 11.10 prompt.
Return trains from Kemble to London
16.20 – direct; 17.17- change Swindon; 18.23 direct; 20.16 change Swindon; 20.50 direct.
Victuals: Tunnel House Inn – just 5km into the walk. Top quality pub with an attractive garden and outdoor seating and a wide range of foods. Check it out here . The Wild Duck pub in Ewen is 3km from the end of the walk and a fine stop for refreshments. There is also the Tavern Inn adjacent to Kemble station for any final refreshments whilst waiting for your train..
Walk options
If you have a map you could divert to Cirencester for further exploration - see walk instructions
Walk information, map, gps and briefing material can be found here. Click on the pdf for full instructions and further details about the walk
Just got two single tickets £7.60 each on Southern Rail website. Departing 9.30.
Returning at 18.23 I've got senior railcard plus 60+ Oyster card, so bought from West Drayton to Kimble.
presumably, with senior railcard, you get 1/3 off for the entire journey, whilst with network card, only 1/3 off up to Reading. It is pity that no Swindon trains stop at Didcot on Sundays, otherwise, 1/3 off up to Didcot would be possible.
Got a super off peak return for £22.85 today using a senior railcard and London Freedom pass. May be better deals available on the web.
7 "stouthearts" on the inaugural SWC expedition to discover the source of the Thames despite the best efforts of FGW who because of engineering over running meant we almost missed our connecting train from Swindon. But for good measure they decided to cancel the 18.24 direct train back to London!! The weather w= was fine with sunny periods.

We set off through the fields beyond Kemble station to find the source only to discover another expeditionary group had beaten us to it! They were possibly Norwegian. We ambled along the overgrown canal towpath for lunch at the Tunnel Pub which had a roast carvery (the SWC roast inspector may be commenting separately on this.) Food was served reasonably quickly. One of our group stayed in the pub having arranged to meet two friends.
After lunch some paths I feared would be very overgrown were not too bad but I/we inadvertently started to take a short cut on the walk and so to complete the loop we had to do a bit of backtracking. Two pressed on to make the 16.24 direct train whilst 4 of us took it more slowly to enjoy the countryside and have a tea at the Wild Duck in Ewen before the final 3km mainly along the Thames path back to Kemble where we caught the 17.18 train after a short detour to look at the village.
The dreamy Cotswolds countryside looked splendid, particularly the silvery fields of barley but it was quite melancholy seeing the reaped fields reminding us that autumn is approaching.
For Saturday walkers as opposed to Sundays it may be good to extend the walk to visit the Roman town of Cirencester. There's a lot of lovely countryside in the area but few rights of way to get you back to Kemble station. An excellent day out.
Finally this walk should not really be done after September. Once the rains start the Thames source becomes a flood plain and en route to the Wild Duck in Ewen you go along a narrow bridleway and one 15m stretch was muddy even with the recent dry weather.After rains it would be a morass!