Starting Point: Neigh Bridge car park at Somerford Keynes

Distance: 4 miles of very easy terrain though best avoided in very wet conditions.

The Water Park Society actively works with landowners and developers to increase and enhance public access and to improve wildlife habitats. As Jill Bewley, the Events Manager for the WPS is keen to point out, “This is a rapidly changing landscape where development and conservation can work together.”

For more details on the work of the Cotswold Water Park and the Society, and to support them, visit

If you wish to recharge and relax after your walk there are several pubs and restaurants within a couple of miles driving of the finishing point. One of these is The Wheatsheaf at Oaksey run by award-winning chef Tony Robson-Burrell.

Tony took over the pub in 2005 which has since become known as the home of the acclaimed steak burger. Using minced Shorthorn English rump steak it was winner of the England’s Best Burger award in 2006 and 2007.


From the Neigh Bridge Country Park car park, (1), turn right and head the few yards to the spine road. Taking care on this very busy and fast road cross to the lane directly opposite, signposted to Minety. Again care should be taken on the one kilometre stretch of the lane as there is no footpath and it can be busy at times.

Turn left off the lane through a kissing gate by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust sign (2), and follow the path around the lake until you meet the Lower Mill Estate fencing, (3), that will guide you through the next kilometre or so of the walk. Bear in mind that you are walking through an active area of development and are never really out of earshot of diggers and other construction noise when walking on a work day. But the far side of the walk around Freeth Mere still allows for a feeling of seclusion and peace.

This walk will also take you through the development area in the news at the time of writing as plans are revealed to build a £7.5 million house in the shape of an orchid with the buyers’ identity being kept top secret but rumours of film stars, musicians and artists doing the rounds.

Follow the perimeter path, (4), and bear left until you reach a section of willow fencing, (5). Turn right here and follow the path that runs alongside the access road to (6). You have now arrived at Flagham Fen with its private bird hide. Here you should also be able to spot evidence of beaver activity as they perform their natural coppicing of willow trees that allow further growth and regeneration. The walk is good all year round for flora and fauna. From November to March passage birds overwinter here including Teal, Smew, Tufted Duck and Wigeon. Spring is Nightingale time with guided walks available. Dragonflies and damselflies come into their own in summer with hot days between noon and 3pm the best time for viewing. Southern marsh and common spotted orchids can also be seen.

Continue past the bird hide into an open grassy meadow. Head for the far side of the meadow where the trees converge, (7) and lead you through into a second field, Head diagonally right to reach a small bridge that brings you into Otter Corridor, a great place to come early in the morning to watch for elusive otter activity. When you reach Pike Corner, (8), a section that can be severely flooded in winter and can become impassable in adverse conditions, turn left and head straight between lakes 40 and 41 until you reach a stile after which you turn left and join the Thames Path, (9)

One third of a mile on you branch off into Mill Lane, (10) and continue past the Lower Mill Estate until you return to the spine road. Again take care crossing and turn left to follow the main road back to Neigh Bridge car park.