I know I keep going on about canals but something just dawned on me.

If you follow the River Ray around the outskirts of Swindon you will find that it joins the River Thames somewhere near Cricklade which then flows eastwards to the sea. There are a number of small brooks to the south-west of Swindon which feed into the Ray and one of these originates in a field at Midgehall just to the east of the Wootton Bassett to Purton road.

Travel just a few metres west of this spot and you will be up to your ankles in mud, signifying that you have found the source of another piddling little stream known as Thunder Brook which rises somewhere in a boggy field at a place called The Marsh, near the Coped Hall roundabout.

But here’s the interesting bit - this muddy rivulet flows west into Brinkworth Brook which then joins the Avon near Great Somerford. The Avon then flows west through a variety of seedy towns such as Melksham before reaching the Severn estuary at – where else? - Avonmouth.

So in order to link the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean all that some enterprising person (or “budding Alan Sugar” as the Adver would say) needs to do is to dig a ditch across a few fields and a minor road and there you have it – the Thames & Avon Canal, a marvel of 21st century civil engineering.

Here’s a map showing the proposed route of this watery wonder (see red dotted line) courtesy of the Ordnance Survey’s useful online Get-A-Map service.


This image is produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. And don’t worry Adver lawyers because it is reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

And there was me thinking that a watershed was somewhere with a leaky roof in the back garden where you keep your lawnmower.