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Where is the source of the Thames??

 
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Bev
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:54 pm    Post subject: Where is the source of the Thames?? Reply with quote

It is said that there is only water at "Thameshead" when there is water in the canal above. So does this mean that the real source of the Thames should be the Great Springs which lie in Sapperton canal tunnel?? Do any records exist of the source of the Thames prior to 1784 when the tunnel was started?
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siltshifter



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
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Location: Gloucester

PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon the "true" source is at Seven Springs, Cheltenham, i.e. the source of the River Churn, the most westerly tributary of the Thames, and which does not dry up at the first sign of drought!
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had always heard that if it rains alot in Mid Wales about 10-14 days later the spring at ThamesHead would be up. Not particulary scientific but generally seems to follow that pattern

Perhaps I could report and take a picture when the first signs of the spring appear !

The picture below was how the basin by the Source looked on 28th February 2006. It is said that the 2nd and 3rd spring are here. We do see 2 puddles appear after the Source but these puddles can then overnight form a lake. We can wake up to "instant lake" !



Last edited by admin (Chris) on Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rajmy



Joined: 27 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Humphrey household goes into some detail in describing the springs at Thames head; Thames head well, Lyd Well and the Firs. The thames and severn Canal Company dug horizontal adits to tap as many sources as possible to feed the engine well at Thames Head.

the main springs in Sapperton Tunnel are at Cassey Well, on the western side of the watershed but anyone who has been on the trip boat into the tunnel will remember the springs surging up through saltglazed pipes in the concrete lined section of the tunnel. This must be on the Thames side of the watershed.

Seven Springs is an interesting place with a good reliable source.
I remember a TV comedy 'Square World', in which they turned off a tap at Seven Springs and the Thames ran dry right through London.

I wonder if the fortunes of the T&S would have been any different if it had been built through Cheltenham, Dowdewell and Seven Springs.
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have edited my picture to show more detail of the other springs we see plus where the old hedgerow used to go and the public footpath.
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tomba



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:49 pm    Post subject: Where IS the source? Reply with quote

Newbie here... Wink

I was following the canal on Google Earth (GE) with a 1903 O.S. map on my lap. On the map I came across "Source of the River Thames". GE has two placemarks for the source (one in someone's bedroom!) and they are 150 meters apart. And - they are nowhere near the 1903 map pointer. Where IS the source?? Here's where I am:



Top left are the two blue "i" icons from previous GE posts. The blue circular icon is mine. It points at a tree that appears to have stones underneath. Is that the source?

Bottom right are three things:

1. The red icon is the source defined by the O.S. surveyors in 1903. It's 700+ meters to the SE of today's placing.

2. The red lines are my attempt to orient myself with the photo posted here by Chris in March 2006. Am I right? If I am, then...

3. The two "Springs" icons are my best guess as to their location. They both show an area of about 12 meters in diameter where the grass is greener than the surrounds. GE is pretty good at crop marks!

To see the detail you need to zoom in to the source and springs locations. Here is a GE file that will let you do that. If you don't have GE, download it here.

Tom


Last edited by tomba on Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom, welcome to the forum.

To answer your 3 points ...

Your point 1 - I was not aware of the 1903 position but this is quite possible because it is know that the actual source has moved around all within this location

Your Point 2 - is correct that is the correct position of the old hedgerow, at the end of the red line is my house "Thameshead Wharf".

Your Point 3 - the 2nd and 3rd spring markings are spot on ! (Even the 12m diameter bit !) Your "Source?" bullseye marking needs to go about 1cm north to the big tree canopy, this is where the "official" source is marked with an engraved stone monument.

BUT I have some factual news that I was just about to put on the forum !! Out in the field by me, the 3rd spring, it has about 18 inches of water in the hollow BUT , and this is the interesting bit, the official source is DRY !!! as I walked to it yesterday.

So I think that we can claim the the source has moved and is now where the 3rd spring is !!

I am going to confirm this by waiting for all water levels to drop and then wait for the 3rd spring to rise, as I can see it from the house and then go to the official source and see if it there - ie I am going to wait to see where the rising waters first appear rather than see the falling waters last post !
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tomba



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the welcome Chris, and for the response. You burned the midnight oil yesterday! Shocked

Here's another go at the source location. Did I get the right tree canopy?



I thought I'd check out the other springs on a different satellite application. I hit pay dirt. We have a lake!



1. It's pretty clear we were both wrong on the position of spring 2. I checked the new position in GE and, yes, there's the crop mark but less clear than the original.

2. I vote for the existence of spring 4. Yesterday I'd noticed a hole about five feet across in that position on the GE view. The new view here clearly shows staining around the hole consistent with other staining around the lake. It's about 150 metres from your back door...

3. Perhaps we have a pointer to when this new view was taken. If you look in your garden you'll see a "truc" whose roof is half red and half white. Ring any bells?

BTW, I forgot to say yesterday that the 1903 map has the word "Spring" in the source position. So they knew about it but did not choose to make it the actual source.

Tom


Last edited by tomba on Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:58 pm; edited 3 times in total
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tomba



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re the 1903 O.S. map and its positioning of the source south of Thames Head, I just checked the 1924 O.S. map. The source there is at today's position! Rolling Eyes
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think its one canopy down and one to the right, I'll have a walk down there tomorrow or Tuesday and confirm, I need the exercise anyway !

Thats a great shot of 2 and 3, 3 definately looks to be the new source.

Not too sure on 4 but will keep a close eye out when she rises again. 3 has still got water in it and stationary..ie does not seem to be rising or falling ...it would nice for it to completely go and then I can really record what happens on the rise.

The red and white is a car and caravan which at a rough guess dates this to about September 2003 !

Chris
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,
I took a walk down there today and took several pictures, I'll try to get them on here tomorrow.

The source is dry but spring 3 is still up ....and guest what (!) ...so it the 1903 source !!!

What do you think has happened ...has the source moved more towards the direction of my house ? ...with a spring either side of the road.

Pictures to prove tomorrow !

Regards

Chris
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I did go down the next day and took some pictures .... but it went from this ...


To this, in a few days ...


The 2nd spring is under there somewhere !
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another before after shot ...all within about 3 days !!!

Before ....



After .... and still like it as of today !
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a good shot to try and see where the source is in relation to the google ariel shot as you may be able to see the relationship between the track and the trees to pinpoint the correct canopy underwhich the source lies.

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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully you can play these ... they are a .mov file which is a video file, mine open up with Quick Time.


http://www.toplocalsites.com/100_7180.mov

http://www.toplocalsites.com/100_7165.mov

http://www.toplocalsites.com/100_7163.mov

You can see what a beautiful and tranquil place the source is.


Last edited by admin (Chris) on Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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tomba



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

admin (Chris) wrote:


http://www.thameshead.com/100_7165.mov

http://www.thameshead.com/100_7163.mov



Chris,

These two links don't work... Crying or Very sad

Tom
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry about that, they should all be working now.
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tomba



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

admin (Chris) wrote:
So I think that we can claim the the source has moved and is now where the 3rd spring is !!

Well Chris, someone up there (or down there...) proved your supposition wrong! Today's source really is it, methinks.

Your movies are remarkable. It's a shame you could not stay till the Salter's steamer passed by...

I'm wondering:

1. Is the water north of the source from the source or is there another spring up there? If you can find another, then your name will go down in history!

2. How frequently does the source produce that much water?

3. The A433 appears to be at a higher level than the field below spring 3. Is the water contained there or is there a bridge/culvert through which it can flow southwards?

Thanks for the photo confirming the source location. I've posted it to the Google Earth Community forum here.
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admin (Chris)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom,
I still think the 3rd spring is the new source. As I said before, it had water in it when the original source did'nt. I was waiting for all levels to drop and then watch as to which comes up first. I will still do this when this lot goes down.

Thanks for the comments regarding the footage, you can see why is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In answer to your points ...

1. the water from the north is very interesting ...as when I was by the spring the water from the north seemed to be rushing by and the spring was just adding to it. Its bit of a job to tell at the moment as it is all so flooded everywhere at the moment but I will investigate and report back here.

2. These levels are some of the highest I've seen. As regards how often does the spring come up ...I would say from a dry state to water perhaps 4-6 times a year ...but less as of late because we have had long periods of dry weather.

3. Not many people realise but the road is built up on am embankment. There is a small culvert, about 3ft diameter that goes under the road and so of course being that small the water cannot flow and so builds up to the lake that you see. This may be designed this way so that it is used as a holding lake here and so downsteam get a steady trickle during floods like this. Saying this, I went to Cricklade on the cirencester to Swindon road the other day and the floods there are the worst I've again ever seen.

Thanks for posting us on Google Earth, let us know of any replies !

Now, where does the Severn begin !!! Very Happy

We could start a whole new website on the sources of the rivers of the UK !

Now there's a thought !

Regards

Chris
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tomba



Joined: 04 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris,

I understand that England's summer was not the best. Did it produce any new news for the source?

Best wishes, Tom
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Kevin McAlpine



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:54 pm    Post subject: Post subject: Where is the source of the Thames?? Reply with quote

There seems to be a basic error being made re: source of the Thames. The source should be the furthest point from the mouth that the water flows on the surface for all or most of the year. If it only flows now and then, it's not a true stream or river.
On this basis, the true source is the source of the Coln, which is at least two miles further than the Thames Head site. It's just off the A40 at Syreford, near Andoversford. Check it on the map, its definitely 23 miles from the Thames/Coln fork. Thames Head is only 19 miles, so it can't be the true source.
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tomba



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Post subject: Where is the source of the Thames?? Reply with quote

Hi Kevin. Welcome to the Thames Head Forum!
Kevin McAlpine wrote:
The source should be the furthest point from the mouth that the water flows on the surface for all or most of the year. If it only flows now and then, it's not a true stream or river.

Can you please quote an authoritative source (no pun intended Wink ) for that?
Quote:
On this basis, the true source is the source of the Coln

Elsewhere in these fora you'll find suggestions that the river Churn is the true source of the Thames. In my view, the fact that both the Churn and the Coln are tributaries of the Thames has no bearing on their qualification for Thames sources. They are rivers in their own right, each with a source, as is the Thames. I'm happy to go along with the historical definition of the source of the Thames, dry or not.

Tom
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Kevin McAlpine



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:51 pm    Post subject: Source of the Thames Reply with quote

Hi Tom, thanks very much for the welcome. I said 'should be', meaning it's my opinion. To be honest, the 'source' of a river is always a matter of opinion, as the truth is that rivers have thousands, or even millions of sources.
In the case of the Thames, the fact that the Churn has a different historical name doesn't alter the facts.
The source of the Churn is definitely furthest from the mouth of the Thames.
But perhaps there is a greater volume of water flowing in the 'Thames' arm where they join? I'd be interested to know. That would be a valid way of determining the true ource, I guess.
Follow the river upstream, always taking the direction of greatest volume of flow when the river forks. This would be likely to rule out any 'dry' courses, though.

As the definition of a 'Tributary' is a smaller river that joins a larger one, that would be the most scientific. Using this method though, you might get a different result in summer than in winter, or following local storms.
Total annual flow would seem to be the only accurate way of deciding which branch is the parent river, and which is the tributary.

When I was at school, I was taught that the longest river in America was the Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson, so we're not the only ones to get confused!
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adoval



Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:48 am    Post subject: Photos of the source circa 1990 Reply with quote

Hello everyone:
New to the forum. Always been intrigued by this question. I visited the "source" one summer (1989?) and discovered only the marker and the pile of stones. Went back during a wetter part of the year, and while the area at the marker was dry, near by, near the second or third spring area, we were treated to a churning pool with water practically gushing up at the center. Sorry I cannot pin-point the location of the pool better.

Me at the marker:


Shortly thereafter, as we walked back toward the visible river, showing the pool and a colleague, Br. Vincent Kingston, FSC, from Oxford:

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JimmyD



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:19 pm    Post subject: New found interest in the source of the Thames Reply with quote

Hello all

I am new to these forums and have recently become fascinated with the seemingly ongoing debate about the source of the Thames.

I live right on the very (Cricklade) edge of Swindon and the River Ray almost passes by my door. The River Ray joins up with the Thames a few miles up from what I can make out - not that I am trying to make a new claim of the source!

I am a keen photographer and walker and would like to come up to the source and follow the Thames for as long as my legs will take me one day. As much as I would love to catch the source (and by this I mean the stone that marks the source and surrounding area including other debated springs above) when it is up, but as this is only a few times a year from what I can make out by the discussions I do have a question.

If I came to the source on a dry day when there is no water at the source, is there a trail I can follow that would take me along where the water would flow if it were there, and so eventually come across the Thames? At what location does the Thames start (from the Thames Head source) when the water is down?

I hope that makes sense and any advice from those of you who know would be much appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.
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