Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ancient market town and mud springs

The Wilts and Berks Canal in Wootton Bassett
Today I walked along here with my great friend Hilary; restoration work is still ongoing and much of the canal is overgrown. I found myself asking why had I ignored Wootton Bassett for so long, it is surrounded by hamlets I have never heard of (e.g. Bushton) and has view of a white horse near Broadtown, the existence of which I had been completely unaware of until today. The canal also has the 'rare geological phenomenon' of mud springs nearby. I did not see them on this occasion as at present the ground is very dry and water levels low.
I have Ian, a former Swindon resident to thank for the mud springs link below - fascinating. I will go back soon for a good old ramble around Wootton Bassett.

The Old Town Hall in Wootton Bassett - built in the 17th century, now a museum

The market town of Wootton Bassett has recently become well known for the saddest of reasons. Because of its proximity to RAF Lyneham, this is the high street that comes to a halt as a show respect to the young soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
Just four miles west of Swindon and, until the arrival of the Great Western Railways in the 1840s, of far greater importance as a town, Wootton Bassett dates back to Saxon times; the first reference to it was recorded was in 681 AD. The name comes from Wodeton or Woodeton meaning settlement in the wood - possibly a clearing in Braydon Forest.
It was mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. For more on its history see below.
Many thanks to Paul Gahan for being kind enough to correct some of the detail in my original entry and for providing addtional information.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Liden Lagoon

A blustery, overcast afternoon with leaves spinning down, today I discovered yet another willowy place in Swindon that remains relatively unknown. In the same group of lakes as Coate Water (the other being just off Shaftesbury Avenue) and tucked away on a leafy housing estate, Liden Lagoon came as a total surprise. Sarsen stones scattered around the edges of the lake, water fowl, two solitary herons (in different places) a single swan. I walked the complete perimeter of the lake noting with pleasure that the benches positioned at various points around the lake each had a short 'watery' poem carved into the wood - and example being "Heron so still at the waters edge".

"Mysteries lurk in murky depths"
Liden Lagoon was dug during the 1960s and is home to a range of wildlife. It is situated next to the A419 and GW Hospital, yet is unspoilt by these busy surroundings. It is a really beautiful and relaxing place in Swindon to spend time ... (taken from Wiltshire Web)