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Thames Canoeing -1

February 18, 2014

Lechlade to Northmoor

A politics free update of the itinerary (click here).

You can start at Cricklade, 10.5 miles above Lechlade, but that section is narrow and shallow. Although it’s nice to avoid motorboats, the best time is the winter. By early summer reeds make paddling a chore.

Start – Ha’penny Bridge Lechlade (1792)

Old toll house left.  Camping at Bridge House click here. £8 per adult, £4 child. An easy carry to the river. (2019 update; £10 adult. The price increase seems to have been spent on “dog lead police”. Still a lovely site.)

1 mile – St John’s Lock (1790)

P1050029     P1050030
Get your river permit here.  No camping on the island.

St John’s bridge (1886)

P1050031   trout-inn     trout-inn slipway
The first of many Trout Inns, left just below the bridge. Jazz and folk venue.
Land back up the weir stream. Slipway in side channel leads into field downstream from the pub. Camping. Ask at the Inn.

Bloomers Hole footbridge (2000).


The National Trust car park right bank is a good launch spot.


2 miles – Buscot lock

P1050043     P1050044

2.25 miles – Eaton footbridge.

The site of the last Thames flash lock which disappeared in 1938. Houseboats are moored in the backwater.

3.75 miles – Kelmscot village, Kelmscott Manor and Plough Inn left.

P1050050  Kelmscott_Manor_2   plough-kelmscott
There used to be a Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site, i.e. field and tap for members, just past the pub sign on the left bank. It’s still there, but a sign (July 2013) says it’s closed.

Kelmscott Manor was co-owned by William Morris, the founder of the Arts & Crafts movement, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the pre-Raphaelite painter. It is a lovely house.

4.5 miles – Grafton lock


6.5 miles Radcot Bridges (1225 and 1787)

P1050059    P1050073
The river divides above the bridge (main channel left), but the right one is easily navigable for canoes. There are now two stone bridges at Radcot; the older (1225) over the side stream, and newer (1787) over the main river. The arch is narrow, the bend blind, and the Swan Hotel lawn is a good place to watch power boats struggle.  Camping on the island. Ask at The Swan Hotel (Click here).


Some lovely back streams behind The Swan

P1050061   P1050066    P1050068

P1050065   P1050067  P1050072

7 miles – Radcot lock

A canoe pass appeared here a couple of years ago. It would be good in a kayak. Our Canadian bumped a bit, but we got down.


7.25 miles – Old Man’s Bridge (1868)

old mans footbridge

10 miles – Rushey Lock

P1050076    P1050077

Camping at the lock – toilet, hot water and showers.

10.5 miles – Tadpole bridge. c1789.

P1050089    P1050085

The canoe centre that used to be just above the bridge seems to have disappeared. The Trout Inn, right bank below the bridge is now an expensive restaurant catering to motorists of both the boat and car variety. I suspect they’d take a dim view of canoeists pulling up for a beer. Unless you’re very thick skinned, land opposite and scramble up to the Thames path.

The next 100 yards of right bank, which used to be a campsite, are now motor boat moorings. Slip discreetly in, for a bit of wild camping beyond.

12.25 – Tenfoot bridge


13.5 miles – Shifford lock cut left.

14.25 miles – Footbridge.


14.5 miles – Shifford Lock

shiffordlock2     shifford lock island

Small campsite on the island – toilet, and shower.
Just below the lock the original course of the river enters right. You can paddle back up this original stream about half a mile to Duxford where there is a ford. A lovely spot for a swim. mentioned a campsite in Duxford but it seems to have disappeared.

17 miles – River Windrush joins left. Newbridge c1250.

P1050096    Rose_Revived   maybush

Two famous pubs here. The Rose Revived left. Maybush Inn right.
Land 100 yards downstream on left at Cokethorpe school canoe club landing stage.

17.5 miles – Hart’s weir footbridge

hartsweir footbridge

Site of another of the long gone Thames flash locks.

19 miles – Northmoor lock

northmoor-lock2    northmoor-weir    northmoor-lock3

Camping (click here) at Northmoor Lock Paddocks right bank.  Access both above and below the weir.


Tap, cold shower and composting toilets. Fires allowed. No electric hookups.  A lovely site.

(2019 update. Site closed when we arrived on a weekday. The owner seems to be in dispute with the environment agency who won’t allow camping on the lower flood plain near the river, and with the local council who limit the number of open days per year. Paddle on to Bablock Hythe; the Ferryman Inn allows much cheaper camping.)

Jim Thornton (to be continued)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathie permalink
    April 26, 2014 12:27 pm

    I am the owner of the campsite at Northmoor Lock – our website has changed so your link is currently not working. How do I contact you to update you?

    • April 28, 2014 2:43 pm

      No worries. Send the link and I’ll sort. Give me 1 week, cos I’m out of country just now. Great site BTW.

    • May 5, 2014 7:03 am

      all sorted now. I’ve gone for the barefoot campsites link. let me know if any probs. jim


  1. River Thames |

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