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Thames Head

Second source of the River Thames

Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Location Guide

Thames Head as usually seen today

Historically the source of the Thames was said to be at Thames Head, in a field near Kemble, not far from Cirencester. Old engravings show it as a large spurt of water coming out of the ground, but over recent times it was only a trickle in winter months.

A second source is at Seven Springs , just south of Cheltenham. This is 14 miles further up stream, and has water coming from it all year, but some call this as being the source of the churn, while Thames Head is of the Isis, it depends on which you feel is the main start of the Thames. These two join at Cricklade in Wiltshire.

In very recent times a third start point has come up, with the environment agency and ordnance survey listing the source as being Trewsbury Mead. This is also said to be dry the majority of the time. From the grid reference and what others have said, I thing Trewsbury Mead and Thames Head is the same place possibly this is the name of the field as I can't find any place called Trewsbury Mead.

At Thames Head quite a few years ago now, was the statue if Neptune, but this was moved to the first lock on the Thames near Lechlade in Gloucestershire, and more recently a stone marker has been put near where Neptune stood.

In recent times the water at Thames Head has become less reliable, 40 years ago it was flowing in winter but not summer, although it was mostly a muddy brook rather than any volume of water. Today it appears from time to time, not always in winter, rarely after heavy rain, so there is  no way to now when its likely to be running.

Thames Head as rarely seen this image taken January 1st 2004

Water is said to more regularly flow from Lydd Well, just to the NW of the A429 and NNE of Kemble. I haven't visited this site yet, it is said to be two fields down stream from Thames Head.

Location: Thames Head - second source of the Thames, Gloucestershire

Grid Reference: ST980994 Ceremonial County: Gloucestershire

Map Link: multimap

Aerial photo: multimap (dry)

google (closer and better but still dry)

Getting there: The Thames Head source is about a quarter of a mile from the A433 outside Kemble. You will find on the main road the Thames Head pub, a footpath goes from near here, crossing over a railway line to the Thames Head point, you may need a map.

Access: By foot only

Other Useful Websites: Wiki - Thames Head      Wiki - River Thames 

discussion on the sources

Postcode: Telephone:
Opening Times:  on footpath in field

Charges: None

Nearby Locations: Cirencester   Gloucestershire Attractions
Other Location Pages: Seven Springs   




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By: Keith Park Section: Rivers & Streams Key:
Page Ref: thames_head Topic: Routes Last Updated: 05/2009

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