Alney Island Walk – 10th September 2020

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.

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