Larks Above Down Ampney
On 5th June 23 members set off from Down Ampney, birthplace of the composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams on a beautiful sunny morning. Heading down Charlams Lane they turned right onto a grassy track between fields of cereals, hoping to hear skylarks and see hares. (No hares, but they did hear the skylark) At Charlams Farm they turned right again they walked to reach Ranbury Farm at Poulton, now a housing development. A coffee stop was taken nearby.
The group then continued to Ampney St Mary and on to Ampney Crucis. Passing the school they eventually crossed the main road and took a footpath alongside Ampney Brook to reach the 13th century ancient church St Marys, in Ampney St Mary, where they stopped for lunch.
Walking on to the Grade II listed Can Court they encountered some very lively mares and foals before reaching Ampney St Peter where they stopped to view the post-box that was painted Gold by Royal Mail, to signify the gold medal earned by Laura Bechtolsheimer in the 2012 Olympics. They returned to Down Ampney having walked 10 miles on a lovely sunny day.
To follow this route, click here
Down Ampney to Latton
Short walk partially walking the village boundaries. Click to view more details of the route
Cricklade - Cerney Wick - Latton - Cricklade
Cricklade has been described as the best preserved example of a Saxon town. It was one of a number of fortified towns built around Wessex as a defence against the Danes.
It also the first town the River Thames passes through from its source and the walk begins by following the Thames Path out of the town, upstream to North Meadow National Nature Reserve. This is one of the best examples of a lowland hay meadow in Europe. A wide variety of wildflowers can be seen here, but it is most well-known for the very rare snake's head fritillaries. About 80% of all of these flowers in Britain can be found in this one meadow. They flower from late April to early May. In midsummer other flowers such as lady's bedstraw, meadowsweet and greater knapweed provide a colourful spectacle.
The walk then follows a disused railway into the Cotswold Water Park and after circling one of the lakes, heads into Cerney Wick, a small Cotswold village. There is a traditional country pub here, called the Crown, where chickens are free to roam around the garden. The waterside theme to the walk continues after leaving the village as it follows the North Wilts Canal to Latton, then heads across fields to rejoin the Thames Path, which is followed back to Cricklade.
Cricklade to Lechlade via The Thames Path
This walk follows the upper reaches of the River Thames through flat open countryside with wide-open views. It is of particular interest to ornithologists and botanists.
South Cerney - Ashton Keynes - South Cerney
A flat, mostly waterside walk, which takes you through the heart of Cotswold Water Park, the largest in the UK, consisting of 140 lakes. The lakes were formed after water naturally filled huge pits created after gravel extraction. In recent years they have become increasingly popular for fishing, water-skiing and sailing.
The walk visits two picturesque Cotswold villages, South Cerney and Ashton Keynes, both of which date back to Saxon times. A short section of the Thames Path is also followed as it heads into Ashton Keynes. The river is very much in its infancy here, just a few miles from its source.
There is a wide variety of wildlife to see on this walk, especially birds, so it is well worth while taking binoculars along with you.