Saturday, 7 November 2009

Rushy Platt and the River Ray

The Rushy Platt Nature Reserve is looked after by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. It is part of a large area of marshland known as fen that once covered most of south Swindon. Home to wading birds such as snipe, amphibians such the great crested newt, and the increasingly rare water vole, in summer it becomes a sea of valerian.

The River Ray flows through the Rushy Platt Nature Reserve

This part of the River Ray flows past the Running Horse public house under the Wootton Bassett Road and through the centre of the Westcott Recreation Ground. Frances Bevan from the Swindon Advertiser recently wrote an article in her series about the history of Swindon, telling her readers that a mill once stood on the or near the site of the Running Horse. Records of a mill and land in an area called Eastcott and Nethercott, later known as Westcott, date back to 1339. In 1805 the Wilts and Berks Canal company bought the mill under powers that enabled them acquire waterways likely to be affected by the needs of the canal.
(Source of historical information: Frances Bevan at the Swindon Advertiser)
See link below to an earlier post showing another section of the River Ray as it meanders its way towards the Thames at Cricklade.