In England, the source of the Thames has disappeared

The river, which originates near the village of Ashton Keynes, has been a victim of high temperatures and low rainfall since the beginning of the year. Vacationers are trying to answer this question: but where is the Thames?

The dry grass path runs along a small valley. And soon a dusty trough forms, protected by a canopy of trees, strewn with twigs, without the slightest trace of moisture. However, it is the source of the Thames. My source now: For kilometers downstream, the course of this emblematic river of the United Kingdom can be summed up at best in a few muddy puddles, a staggering shortcut from the drought that is sweeping a large part of the country.

We haven’t found the Thames yetSays Michael Sanders, a 62-year-old computer scientist who came with his wife to walk the “Thames Road,” a marked path that follows a winding riverbed, from its source to its mouth. “It is completely dry. There are puddles and mud, but no water flowing at all yet, and we sure hope to find the Thames downstream, but it’s goneยป, testifies to this vacationer in the village of Ashton Keynes, a few kilometers from the source.

“See also – Drought: the Loire is too low to be crossed on foot

In this picturesque area at the foot of the Cotswold Hills, not far from Wales, the river rises from an outcrop in the water table, before meandering for about 350 kilometers towards the North Sea, watering the corridor of the British capital. But for those who normally liken the English countryside to a golf course, the shock is heavy this summer, after a winter and spring almost unprecedented since rainfall records are available.

I haven’t seen any animals in days

The water receded six miles. Adrien Denis / Agence France-Presse

Looks like we’re walking through the African savannah, it’s very dryDavid Gibbons, a 60-year-old retiree, is taking his wife and two friends the opposite path to Michael Sanders in stages, from mouth to source. Just a few hundred yards from the target, he revels in the wildlife he encounters as he makes his way over a waterway that transforms, from a strategic and navigable industrial artery of the London area, into a tourist attraction, between the pleasure of river and birdwatching. .

But for the past two or three days, we haven’t seen any animals because there is no water. disappeared about 10 miles away (16 km, editor’s note) from hereAccording to David Gibbons.We’ve never seen it dry and emptyAdds Andrew Jack, a 47-year-old regional official who lives about fifteen kilometers from Ashton Keynes, which is accessed via narrow country roads dotted with stone houses.

calls to save water

The company that supplies London has announced upcoming restrictions on water consumption. Adrien Denis / Agence France-Presse

Between the main street of the village and the beautiful flowering buildings, the river bed, spanned by small footbridges, is riddled with cracks over which hornets fly, suggesting images of the African backwaters in the dry season. No relief in sight anytime soon: The National Weather Service issued an orange heat alert for southern England and eastern Wales on Tuesday between Thursday and Sunday, with temperatures hitting 35 to 36 degrees Celsius.

Local authorities are ramping up calls to save water, and the company that supplies London has announced upcoming restrictions on consumption, which will be added to those already in place in part of the south of the country. But David Gibbons refuses to panic. “I’ve lived in England all my life, we’ve been dehydrated before“, He says. “I think it will be green again by fall. “

Andrew Jack, who had come with his family to walk along a riverbed where a solitary gradual scale had nothing left to measure, admits to being more pessimistic:Many Englishmen think “Fantastic, let’s enjoy the weather” (…) But it means that something has changed badly“.”Personally, I am concerned that I see the situation getting worse. The UK will have to adapt to a warmer climate, with more and more summers like this‘, feared.

“See also – UK: A whale stuck in the Thames, rescued by rescuers

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