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River Medway

July 22, 2014

Leigh barrier to Allington lock

Twenty miles gentle paddling spiced up by Environment Agency canoe shoots. The railway follows the valley most of the way so getting back to the top is easy, and there’s excellent wild camping at Oakweir lock, Stoneham lock and Barming bridge. I dunked my camera so the pictures below are either cribbed from the web (forgive me), or credit Alan or Pete.

0 miles – Leigh flood barrier. Built in 1982 to protect Tonbridge, it wasn’t adequate in 2013, and may need to be raised soon.

leigh barrier    leighbarrier3

It is on the new cut, now the main channel. No easy access.  Better to launch in Tonbridge and paddle up to the barrier.

0.5 mile – old stream joins right.

1 mile – Lucifer footbridge. Barden Park right.

lucifer footbridge

1.2 miles – railway bridge.

railway above tonbridge

River divides round Tonbridge sports-ground.

Left channel footbridge 1 mile.footbridge l channel tonbridge sportsground


Slipway left 1.5 miles.

Excellent launch spot with car parking.    tonbridge slipway2


footbridge after medway slipway medway tonbridge

Alternative right channel. Allotments rightallotments



Boatyard right.1.4 miles – footbridge.

footbridge over right stream

Botany stream leaves right over weir.

botany stream2

1.5 miles New Wharfe Road bridge

medway l channel bridge


1.6 miles – channels merge

1.8 miles – Town Bridge

big bridge tonbridge

2 miles – Town lock right. Sluice gate. Canoe pass. Weir. Millstream leaves left

town lock tonbridge   twon lock2    town lock sluice

town lock canoe shoot    downstream from tonbridge lock

2.5 miles – Cannon Lane bridge. Access left below bridge.


2.8 miles – Botany stream rejoins right

3 miles – Gravel conveyor bridge

gravel pit conveyer belt   medway nr eldridge lock

3.5 miles Eldridge’s lock left. Sluice. Canoe shoot right. In two sections.


4.5 miles – Porters lock. Sluice gates right.  Canoe shoot.  Channel leading to lock left

DCIM100SPORT    porters lock canoe shoot   porters lock

Landing stages

5 miles – Hartlake bridge.

hartlake bridge  hartlake bridge2

Memorial to 30 hop pickers who drowned here 1853 when an earlier bridge collapsed in flood. Access below bridge.

hartlake memorial1   hartlake memorial2

5.25 miles – footbridge

6 miles – East lock right.

east lock   east lock2   east lock downstream

Canoe shoot middle.


Sluice gates left.

east lock sluice gate

6.25 miles – Ford Green footbridge

Ford_Green_Bridge_Medway   ford green bridge2

7 miles – Oak weir lock Right

oak weir lock4    oak weir lock2

Canoe pass middle

oak weir canoe shoot

Sluice left

oak weir sluice

Camping allowed on the island.  No facilities.

7.25 miles – Stilstead bridge

stilstead bridge

7.75 miles – River Bourne joins left.  Footbridge.

footbridge below r bourne junction     river bourne

Hop Farm Family Park right. Many attractions. If that sort of thing floats your boat, pass under the footbridge right to reach the campsite. If not, wild camping at Stoneham lock is only two miles away

8.5 miles – Sluice weir lock left.  Sluice gates and weir middle. Canoe shoot and fish ladder right.

sluice weir and sluice gates   sluice weir   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Click here for a video clip of shooting the canoe pass

9 miles – Branbridges.  Road bridge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbranbridge road bridge2

9.25 miles – A228 bridge

a228 bridge

9.3 miles – conveyor belt bridge

conveyor belt bridge

9.5 miles – Railway bridge

railway bridge below sluice l b   railway bridge below sluice l

10 miles – Stoneham old lock (disused).  Camping. No facilities.

stoneham old lock2

10.75 miles  – Yalding.  Sluice and weir right.  Take lock cut left.

yalding sluice gates   twyford bridge2

Alternatively land right upstream of the booms, portage over the bank to river Teise, under Twyford bridge and down to Marlin canoe club campsite (booking needed).

Footbridge over lock cut (Hampstead lane canal).  Anchor inn left

11.5 miles –  Hampstead bridge and Hampstead lock

hampstead lock yalding4   hampstead lock yalding   hampstead lock and bridge yalding

Hampstead marina right below the lock

11.75 miles – rejoin main channel

13.5 miles – Bow bridge. Wateringbury

bow bridge wateringbury   bow bridge

DSCN3971      DSCN3969

15 miles – Teston lock. Weir right.  Canoe shoot left.  Beware – in two section.

DSCN3966    DSCN3967   DSCN3976

15.1 miles – Teston bridge. Reader’s cricket balls were made in Teston for 200 years

Teston_Bridge   readers cricket balls   ReadersACountyMatch1

Teston bridge county park left. Access and parking.

16 miles – Barming bridge.  Site of old ford. Camping is allowed on the right bank just before the bridge

Barming bridge    barming bridge2

17 miles – East Farleigh bridge

east farleigh bridge   east farleigh bridge2

Farleigh lock. No canoe shoot. But easy portage.

farlegh lock and weir   farleigh lock2   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

18.5 miles – Tovil footbridge.  Access right below.

tovil footbridge

19 miles – Millennium footbridge. The upstream one.

maidstone millenium footbridge   maidstone millenium footbridge2

19.5 miles – Maidstone bridge

maidstone bridge    maidstone bridge2

19.6 miles Maidstone New bridge

maidstone new bridge    maidstone new bridge2

20 miles – Rail bridge

maidstone railway bridge   maidstone railway bridge2

20.5 miles – Maidstone millenium footbridge. The second millenium bridge in Maidstone.

maidstone millenium 2nd footbridge    maidstone millenium 2nd footbridgeb   maidstone millenium 2nd footbridgec

22 miles – Allington lock (tidal limit).  Malt Inn right.  Slipway left.

allington lock2   allington weir and sluices  allington_slipway

Jim Thornton


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