January 2 2015 Thames Path : Thames Head to Ashton Keynes

After overnight rain, the day dawned bright and clear. The temperature for a winter’s day was ideal for walking and so we started our challenge route along THE THAMES PATH.

The source of the Thames, Thames Head, is marked by a large inscribed stone and close by was our first cache of the day. A very simple find and a fair sized container too!

Thames Head and its Cache

Thames Head and its Cache

Thames Head is where the Thames rises after a particular wet winter. Although it had rained overnight, there was no sign of any water! Indeed there was no water in the ‘stream channel’ for a mile.

Sheep in the background, but a mile from the source.. still no river!

Sheep in the background, but a mile from the source.. still no river!

Here the water came from a bubbling, almost volcanic, spring called Lyd Well. From here the stream was very wide but shallow in depth.

Lyd Well ... quite a bubbling start for the Thames

Lyd Well … quite a bubbling start for the Thames

As the river grew in stature, so did the number of potential caches. Our next location (near an Information Board) provided us with our first (of three) Did Not Finds of the day. We weren’t helped by the presence of a camper-van, whose occupants wanted a chat thus delaying our search.

Our luck turned at the next cache and continued as the Thames Path passed with feet of the fledgling river.

Fledgling river

Fledgling river

The containers were varied – though predominantly much larger than film canisters we had become accustomed to locally. Indeed the only film canisters were IN a cache – as the Cache Owner had hidden the log in a film canister, but which one ?!

The only habitation we passed through was the small Cotswold village of Ewen which hosted a number of caches (including a puzzle cache we had solved before leaving).

Leaving Ewen, the river meandered around various fields, and unsurprisingly many of the field boundaries were hosts to caches. One such GZ, at a metal stile, was our second failure of the day – reading the online logs the term ‘sneaky hide’ – well it was too sneaky for us!

Meandering Thames

Meandering Thames

About a mile of so before Ashton Keynes, we entered various Water Parks where former gravel pits had been turned into lakes, and Nature Reserves. The Thames somehow twisted and turned around several of these lakes and yielded many caches and also a geo-coin from Utah.

Neigh Bridge Water Park

Neigh Bridge Water Park

Prior to arriving at the lakes, caching was easy as there was barely a soul on the Path, but the lakes attracted many a dog-walking muggle so our last few finds, were little more hurried than earlier in the day.

Thames Path statistics :
Route length : 7.2 miles Total distance walked : 7.2 miles
Caches found : 16 Total caches found : 16

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Here are a few of the caches we found (in no particular order of course) :

PS If you’ve found this blog by accident and want to hear about how the rest of our journey turns out why not Subscribe ?
PPS If you want more information about the caches we found, we’ve set up a public list on http://www.geoaching.com which details caches we attempted. http://www.geocaching.com/bookmarks/view.aspx?guid=3b375b46-831e-468e-9df9-81c661b2e7f9

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