GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Source of the Thames

3 miles (5.5 km)

This walk takes you from the village of Kemble to the source of the River Thames at Thames Head, in Gloucestershire. The walk starts from the train station in the village. You can catch a train direct from London Paddington, Cheltenham or Gloucester. Head east from the station and you will soon come to the Thames Path National Trail. It's about a 1.5 mile walk north along the path to Thames Head. Here you will find a monument with an inscription to mark the source of the river. A nearby basin of stones marks the spring, although there is usually only water present during a wet winter. You can return to the village on the same path and then visit the interesting village church. It contains aNormandoor and a tower dating from 1250, to which a spire was added in 1450.
You can extend the walk by continuing north west along the Thames and Severn Canal, past Trewsbury House and into Hailey Wood.
The Monarch's Way and Macmillan Way long distance trails also pass through the area. You can pick them up just to the north of Thames Head and then follow them deeper into the Cotswolds. If you prefer you could visit the site from Cirencester. Just follow the Monarch's Way west from the town and it will take you straight to Trewsbury House where you turn south to get to the source.
If you follow the Thames Path in a south easterly direction you will soon come to the splendid Cotswold Water Park. Here there are miles of cycling and walking trails to follow around the 150 lakes.


GL7 6NY - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations

Source of the Thames OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Source of the Thames Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking


The aptly named Thames Head Inn is located off the Terbury Road just south west of the source. The historic building was constructed for railway workers in the first half of the 19th.Century.It eventually became the Railway Hotel, but changed its name to the Great Western in 1923. The railway line still lies next to the pub and has to be crossed with care, following the well-trodden path. Inside there's a cosy interior with a well stocked central bar surrounded by various nooks and crannies and open fires. Outside there's a lovely landscaped garden for warmer days. You can find them at postcode GL7 6NZ on the A433 road. They are dog friendly.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Just to the east of Cirencester there's the villages of Ampney Crucis and Ampney St Peter where you can visit a series of noteworthy ancient churches.

Cycle Routes and Walking Routes Nearby


Source of the River Thames - - 1007379

Source of the River Thames. Here is the furthest upstream water visible in the summer.


Thames Marker

Baby Thames in spring - - 872064

Baby Thames in spring

Summer source of the Thames - - 706189

Summer source of the Thames

The River Thames at Kemble - - 4811450

The River Thames at Kemble

Kemble War Memorial - - 2856961

Kemble War Memorial. A view of the village where the walk begins.

The young River Thames looking good after all this summer's rain - - 3028090

The young River Thames looking good after all this summer's rain

The Thames Head Inn near Kemble - - 1122459

The Thames Head Inn near Kemble. The inn depicting Old Father Thames on its sign and wall of the building is situated a very short distance from the source of the River Thames which springs the other side of the railway bridge.


GPS Files

GPX File

Source of the Thames.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Source of the Thames.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)