Alney Island Walk with Tony Conder.
Highnam Heritages members enjoyed a most interesting walk led by Tony
Conder whose knowledge of Alney Island is second to none. We were fortu-
nate to have very good weather to enjoy what is now a wonderful nature re-
serve. Alney is probably the largest river island in England and was formed
after the River Severn altered course and the river divided creating an island
following the great flood of 1483. It is comprised of several hams, ponds and
woodland, plus agricultural land.
There is now a fairly recently planted wood, in memory of Richard III, who
gave Gloucester its Royal Charter of County Town. We learned about the
battles, aircraft trials and sports that have taken place over its history. There
is evidence of old watercourses which have dried up, including the River
Leadon, which flowed directly to Gloucester before the great flood. Railway
lines serving a power station and docks ran across various parts of the island,
with many now turned into cycle tracks.
We walked past Gloucester cattle, with their black body, white stripe and
white tail. They are noted for their calm behaviour and grazing around us,
hardly looked up. Arriving at Lower Parting, where the river divides into two,
someone was lucky enough to see an otter. Reaching the disused canal lock
caused some hilarity the route is extremely overgrown with tall vegetation,
and some of our party got tangled up or covered with teasles. However, we
all survived and made our way towards the view of the now disused prison
and site of Gloucester castle.
With stories of the historical events throughout the afternoon, along with all
the natural beauty, we had a thoroughly good time.