I've been to the abbey as recently as 2010 - which isn't recent at all, come to think of it - but I'd never explored the historic centre of the town, so that's what I decided to do.
It's the confluence of the Rivers Avon and Severn that informs the town, of course, so I headed there, crossing the Mill Avon (a 12th century diversion by monks of part of the Avon to power their mill) onto Severn Ham, an area of water meadow that reminded me very much of the Lammas Lands in Godalming.
Here's a glimpse of the Avon ...
... and here's a man singing where the two rivers meet. Maybe he's serenading the goddess, Hafren/Sabrina.
The Abbey is ever present as you walk around the town.
It was all very pleasant but I was on a bit of a schedule as far as daylight was concerned, so I headed back for town, crossing the Mill Avon by the mill itself.
It's here you start to get an idea of how the town floods so easily. How this ...
... becomes this.
Or indeed this.
I had another inundation on my mind, though - that of the Yorkist army of Edward IV who in 1471 routed the Lancastrians here, killing Edward, Prince of Wales, while his father, Henry VI, languished in the Tower.
Henry was (probably) murdered shortly afterwards, and Edward IV re-crowned king.
The battlefield is rather predictably known as Bloody Meadow. I doubt even these magnificent oaks were there then. Just the Abbey and the little River Swilgate lined by the ancestors of the scrubby willows there today.
My route led me through the local cemetery, where the light was spectacular.
Life casts a long shadow
Getting dark now, though, and time to head back to Gloucester. I'll revisit the Abbey next time.