ASHTON KEYNES: There is scant evidence of any moisture at the end of a dusty track in southwest England, where the river Thames usually comes from the ground first.
The driest start to a year has shifted the source of this emblematic English river several miles downstream, leaving scorched earth and the occasional puddle where water once flowed.
There are growing numbers of regional water restrictions and fears that an official drought will be declared in England because of the parched conditions afflicting swathes.
We haven't found the Thames yet, confidant Michael Sanders, 62, on holiday with his wife in the area known as the official source of the river.
The couple planned to walk some of the Thames Path that stretches along its entire course - once they find the waterway's new starting point.
It's completely dried up, the IT worker from northern England told AFP in the village of Ashton Keynes, a few miles from the source, that it had been replaced by the odd puddle, the odd muddy bit So hopefully downstream we'll find the Thames, but at the moment it's gone. The river begins from a spring in this picturesque region at the foot of the Cotswolds hills, not far from Wales, before meandering for 350 km to the North Sea.
Along the way it helps supply freshwater to millions of homes, including those in the British capital London.
Following months of minimal rainfall, including the driest July in England since the 1930s, the country's famously lush countryside has gone from shades of green to yellow.
It was like walking across the savannah in Africa because it's so arid and so dry, exclaimed David Gibbons.