Swindon Ramblers have devoted more than six decades to preserving and promoting the joys of the Wiltshire countryside.

Today they share another of their favourite walks, much of which hugs the banks of the Thames.

Distance: 8 miles, which can be shortened to 6½ miles by omitting the Kelmscott loop or to 2 miles by crossing the river at St John’s Lock

OS Maps: Explorer 170, Landranger 163

Car: Park at the Riverside car park (££), Lechlade. (SU212992). Circuits can also be started from St. John’s Lock, Buscot or Kelmscott.

Bus: No service from Swindon to Lechlade.


1. From the car park, walk in Riverside Park toward Halfpenny Bridge and cross the river. Continue into Lechlade, turning right at the road junction to reach the square. Enter the churchyard and pass to the left of the Church entrance. At the end of the churchyard, cross to the primary school and pass through a kissing gate onto a tarmac path to the main road (about ½ mile).

2. Cross the road and follow the minor road opposite, signposted ‘Kelmscott’. After about ¼ mile, turn right onto a path signposted ‘Thames Path Alternative Route’ and follow it to a kissing gate. Go through and turn left to join the Thames Path and follow to Buscot Lock.

3. Cross the first weir and turn along the edge of the lock to leave by a gate beyond. Follow the bank and cross the concrete bridge. Turn right and follow the bank to the Anchor Boat Club. Do not cross the bridge, but go through a metal gate just ahead.

4. Turn immediately left to exit the path and go through a V stile. Keeping the fence on the left, continue across the field. Cross a wooden stile and two footbridges over a stream. Continue in that direction but veer slightly left through the gap so that the hedge is now on the right. At the end of the field, turn right on to a track between hedges. Turn left onto a gravel drive and follow it into Kelmscott. At The Plough, turn right and walk through the village past Kelmscott Manor. Pass the entrance, go round a metal gate and shortly afterwards turn right. Go through a gate and continue right onto the riverside path, following the river back to the Anchor Boat Club.

5. Cross the river bridge, pass to the left of the white house and bear right through a metal kissing gate to the tarmac path. As the path bends to the left, turn half right, aiming for the left of two trees. At the trees, turn right onto the path with the hedge to the left. After a few yards, go through a metal farm gate. Cross the next field with the hedge to the right and go over a footbridge. Cross the next field to a metal kissing gate. Go diagonally across the next field and through a metal kissing gate to arrive at a road. Just before the road, turn right and follow the track which leads to a group of cottages on the site of Buscot Wharf. Turn left in front of the cottages and follow the path through two metal kissing gates and across a footbridge. Cross the grass diagonally and follow the path to Buscot Lock.

6. Cross a weir, the lock and another weir and turn left to follow the Thames Path towards St John’s Lock. Pass the gate leading to the Alternative Route (see 2), cross the river bridge on the left and continue on the south side of the Thames to the lock. At the side of St. John’s Lock is a fine statue of Old Father Thames that was originally sited at the source of the Thames.

7. Pass through the lock and continue with the river on the right, eventually passing under Halfpenny Bridge - named for its old toll - at Lechlade to reach the start.

Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of The Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office © Crown copyright. Licence No. 100033886

Walk courtesy of Swindon and N East Ramblers