Thames Canoeing -1
Lechlade to Northmoor
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.
1 mile – St John’s Lock (1790)
St John’s bridge (1886)
Bloomers Hole footbridge (2000).
The National Trust car park right bank is a good launch spot.
2 miles – Buscot lock
2.25 miles – Eaton footbridge.
3.75 miles – Kelmscot village, Kelmscott Manor and Plough Inn left.
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)
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
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)
10 miles – Rushey Lock
Camping at the lock – toilet, hot water and showers.
10.5 miles – Tadpole bridge. c1789.
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
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. iGreens.org.uk mentioned a campsite in Duxford but it seems to have disappeared.
17 miles – River Windrush joins left. Newbridge c1250.
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
Site of another of the long gone Thames flash locks.
19 miles – Northmoor lock
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.
Jim Thornton (to be continued)