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River Thames from source to mouth

Thames in map UKThames source-mouth

The River Thames flows from the source at Thames Head near the hamlet of Kemble into eastern direction and ends after 229 miles in the North Sea near Southend-on-Sea. 

Before passing the city of Oxford the river has to offer a lot for lovers of peace and natural beauty. One of the best ways to enjoy this lovely landscape in the Cotswolds in the south of England is to follow the Thames Path. This long distance walking route is a public footpath following the river for 184 miles from the source to The Thames Barrier in London. 

After leaving the territory of London the river passes The Thames Barrier and ends via the Thames Estuary in the North Sea

Close to the source in Kemble

2- first metersJPG3- sign Thames Path

Almost from the very beginning a public footpath follows the course of the river

The Arkell's Riverside in Lechlade is an irresistible spot for a stop along the young Thames

6A- Korte longboat5- Ha'penny bridge Lechlade

The Ha'penny bridge in Lechlade marks the start of the navigable Thames. The name of the bridge refers to the toll charged for pedestrians to cross it until 1839.

From Lechlade the 'narrowboats' are a frequent phenomenon on the Thames. The name refers to the original working boats for carrying goods on the narrow canals of Great Britain. Nowadays, the boats are used for leasure cruising and also as homes.

7A- Lock St. Johns

St. John's Lock near Lechlade is the furthest upstream lock on the Thames

7B- Boei St. John's7C- Father Thames

From 1958 till 1974 a statue of 'Father Thames' marked the source of the river at Thames Head.

Because this location hardly attracted visitors the statue was moved to St. John's Lock. 

Oxford is famous for its university. Students and academics from all parts of the world have been visiting the university for nine centuries. There are 38 independent, self-governing colleges. The collegiate system is giving the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowed institution and to a smaller, interdisciplinary, academic college community. It enables leading academics and students across subjects and year groups, and from different cultures and countries to come together to share ideas.

8B- Bodeian

The Bodleian Library is one of the oldest public libraries of Europe and connected to the University of Oxford.

The combined collections number more than 11 million printed items, 50.000 e-journals and vast quantities of materials in many other formats.  

The 'Bod' is one of six legal deposit libraries for works published in the United Kingdom and operates principally as a reference library.
Documents may not be removed from the reading rooms. 

The Head of the River is considered one of the best pubs in Oxford. This prime location along the river Thames serves good food and drinks. There are also 12 guest rooms. The Head of the River is a good starting point for a Thames cruise. The ticket office is just on the other side of the bridge.

9B- Henley - rowning 2

enley-on-Thames is best known for its annual rowing event The Royal Regatta.

The stretch of the Thames between the regatta finish and Henley Bridge is the location for the Festival of Music and Arts. Top entertainers perform on a floating stage in front of a dinner-jacketed audience. The event includes exhibitions of art and sculpture.

But also the rest of the year Henley-on-Thames has to offer a lot. The town has a variety of good shops and not to be missed is a visit to the River & Rowing Museum.

The report: River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames

Our reporters used Henley Four Oaks of The Caravan Club as a base for their investigations along the upstream part of the Thames. 

Read about their experiences in the report:
Henley Four Oaks: continuous hospitality

12C- Queen at home

Windsor Castle was originally designed to protect Norman dominance and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames.

The castle has a long association with the British royal family and was used as a refuge for the family during the bombing in World War II.

Windsor Castle is a popular tourist attraction and the preferred weekend home of queen Elizabeth II.

13A- Rowing near Richmond

The Thames is approaching the territory of London near Richmond

13C- Close New Southern Belle13B- Cruising near Richmond

  Cruising with the New Southern Bell

Richmond Bridge

Relaxing near Richmond Bridge

View on the Thames from the highest point of Richmond

15B- Richmond Park15C- Richmond Park

Richmond Park is the largest of the eight Royal Parks in London and with 2.500 acres the biggest enclosed space in the British capital. This environment has been created by centuries of grazing by herds of deer.

Every year millions of Londoners and tourists are visiting the park. The animals are accustomed to their presence. Although Richmond Park is surrounded by human habitation, the landscape of hills, woodland gardens and grasslands abound in wildlife. Even the motorized traffic - only permitted during daylight - doesn't chase the animals away.

The park is an important protected UK site for ancient trees, particularly oaks. 

15D- Richmond Park
16B- Low tide in PutneyJPG

Low tide in Putney

The Tower of London is undoubtedly the most famous bridge across the Thames. This impressive landmark is also the start of a downstream trip along almost all the places of interest within the city of Londen. 

The report Along the riverbanks in London 

18F-Squirrel18A-Sign Abbey Wood

For camping enthusiasts who like to combine a quiet stay with the hustle and bustle of London the Abbey Wood Caravan Club Site is an ideal location. 

Read about the experiences of our team in the report:

 Abbey Wood: between squirrels and foxes

The O2 Arena is a huge entertainment complex on the Greenwich Peninsula between the City of London and the Thames Barrier. The building is one of the largest arena's in Europe and is used for all kinds of events such as sports and concerts. The name of the complex refers to the main sponsor, the telecommunications company O2.

19-Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier detail

The Thames Barrier was designed to protect London against a very high flood level from the North Sea. It is the second-largest movable flood barrier in the world. The largest is de Oosterscheldekering in the Netherlands.

The barrier is operational since 1982 and has been built across a 520-metre wide stretch of the river. The barrier divides the Thames into four navigable spans of 61 metres and two spans of 30 metres. 

There are also four non-navigable channels between nine concrete piers and two abutments. The hollow flood gates operate by rotating and are made of steel of 40 millimeters thick. The gates fill with water when submerged and empty as they emerge from the river. The four large central gates are twenty metres high and weigh 3.700 tonnes.

Like almost everywhere in the world also in the UK is a continues discussion about water management. The Thames Barrier was designed to protect London from flooding until 2030 and beyond.

The Environment Agency are examining the Thames Barrier for its potential life under climate change. Under the present circumstances the Agency expects the Barrier to be capable of providing continued protection untill at least 2070.

In January 2013 a former member of the Thames Barrier Project Management Team stated that the flood barrier was not designed with increased storminess and sea level risies in mind. Therefore he called for a new barrier to be looked into immediately.

The Environment Agency responded that it does not plan to replace the present barrier before 2070 because it was designed with an allowance for sea level rise of 8mm per year. 

20A- Nature reserve

Low tide at the Thames Estuary 

hurrock Thamesside Nature Park  is an innovative visitor centre built on a former landfill site, with views over the Thames Estuary. 

The adjacent Stanford Wharf Nature Reserve Park was created by DP World London Gateway to compensate for areas of intertidal mudflat taken during the construction of the London Gateway Port.

The development of the mudflat involved realignment of the existing sea defenses allowing former agricultural fields to develop into mudflats after inundation by the sea.

21- Southend-on-Sea

The Thames ends in the North Sea near Southend-on-Sea


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