My short trip on Goliath opened up a new area for me to explore and answered one question that has been bugging me for quite some time. To really understand this a bit more you need to look at a map (which I just happen to have handy)
The white arrow on the left hand of this image is where I was today and it is called the Upper Lode Lock. and it is a part of the Severn Waterway. The white arrow on the right in the image is the Avon Lock and I dealt with that one in my “Going through the locks” post in June 2015. Up until my trip on Goliath I was unaware that there was another set of locks close to Tewkesbury, although I was always curious about a sign that I read advertising the “Lower Lode Ferry”.
I decided that I would approach the locks from the opposite bank of the Severn, crossing at the Mythe Bridge and heading towards Bushley but turning left instead of right. After some hairy cycling I came around a corner and a fox stood in the middle of the road. Unfortunately I was not able to get my camera ready and Reynard cocked a snook at me and disappeared into the undergrowth. This was the 3rd fox I have seen in the UK since I arrived in 2013 and I love encountering them. A bit further on and I was at the lock, and a fascinating place it was.
This landing is where boats would moor until there were enough of them to share the lock transit. Make no mistake, this is a large lock. I am going to wind forward a bit because on my way back I watched a narrow boat transit the lock system.
The gates are open and the narrow boat is on its way though them, I am looking towards the lock gates you can see in the image above. The gates are made of wood and are electrically operated.
If I turn 180 degrees my view would be of the large basin inside the lock.
My guess would be that it was used as a temporary mooring place for a lot of boats and barges so as to maximise the usage of the lock and it does make sense to have something like this. Unfortunately the amount of traffic using the lock is quite small compared to when the Severn was used to move goods up and downstream. The difference in levels before the lock and after the lock was 4 feet on this day. It can vary considerably depending on the season, tides, rainfall and flooding. With the water in the lock the same as outside the other gate is opened and the boat can complete her transit. It took 13 minutes for the narrow boat to transit, even though she had to wait for 2 paddle boarders before the gate could be closed.
Now that was fun, so let us return to the beginning and carry on with my entering the lock system and onwards.
There was a path of sorts that headed off into the distance and and I headed off on it, hoping to find the Lower Lode Inn and ferry.
A bit further on and I could see the area where the river split comes together, with a weir on one side and the lock on the other.
Make no mistake, you do not want to try avoid using the lock because the weir will probably kill you. In the distance I could make out buildings and vehicles and I headed towards it. I had found the Lower Lode Inn!
But first I had to investigate that classic 1964 Kombie on the right.
Words really fail me when I try to describe that Kombie and the teardrop caravan parked alongside; it was literally a steampunk dream on 2 wheels.
It really shows what you can do when you have passion (and money). The owner was such a nice guy and I can only compliment him on his creation. It was gorgeous.
This is the Lower Lode Inn in all it’s glory. It is touted as a 15th century riverside inn, and it certainly looks the part. However, it appeared as if I was too early again as it seemed to be closed (or they saw me coming…)
As for the ferry?
This may be it! I saw him twice on the river and at one point he was approaching the landing stage of the inn, but I cannot confirm or deny that it is the ferry or not.
On the opposite bank is the Cheltenham College boat house.
I now need to investigate this area from the opposite bank of the river. Out of curiosity, I was not able to walk along the bank of the river but walked on what I assume may have been the towpath, there are little walkways down to the bank every few metres, but they were steep and I was not willing to venture down them and end up in the ‘oggin. There were a number of fishermen on the river too, and apparently they were catching Bream.
Lower Lode Inn from the other bank (05/08/2018)
In September 2018 I walked down the path that I would take to get to the Medieval Festival in search of the ferry. It was quite a nice day although I should have brought my bicycle.
I was hoping to find the battlefield trail along this road too, but did not really want to do that yet as I wanted to try for an official tour instead. After what felt like years I eventually reach the end of the road and the bank of the Severn.
Of the ferry there was no sign, although there was a sign pointing to where you caught the ferry. The boat house would be on my left at this point.
And looking upstream in the direction of the Lower Lode Lock area.
And the Lower Lode Inn itself
That more or less concludes my exploration of the Lower Lode Inn and ferry. I can safely mark this is being “in the bag”
Out of curiosity, the next lock downstream is this one that is at the entrance to Gloucester harbour
It is very beautiful out there and the dominant colour is green, coupled with sunshine and pleasant temperatures it was a lovely day.
Some random images…
DRW © 2018. Created 24/06/2018, added images from opposite bank 05/08/2018