About the river... It’s part of the longest river in England, it has 45 locks, is home to over 25 species of fish, boasts three areas of outstanding natural beauty and it’s the only river in Europe to have a national trail follow its entire length. This is the rural River Thames Starting as a small trickle in the Cotswolds the River Thames travels over 210 miles through the heart of some of England’s most picturesque towns, right into the centre of London and eventually, out into the North Sea.
Facts About The River Thames... • The River Thames may take its name from the Sanskrit Tamas meaning “dark” as its waters are often dark and cloudy; another idea is that it is named after the Roman Tam meaning “wide” and Isis meaning water. • The River Thames is 346 km long. • Long ago, before Britain was separated from continental Europe, the Thames was a tributary of the Rhine. The English Channel was formed about 7,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age.
More Facts... • There are 45 Locks on the non-tidal River Thames • Buscot Lock, just east of Lechlade, is the smallest lock on the river. • Pangbourne, where the river Pang flows into the River Thames, is famous as the home of Kenneth Grahame, author of The Wind in the Willows and also as the place where Jerome K Jerome’s three men in a boat finish their journey at the Swan Inn. • The non-tidal River Thames is home to over 25 species of course fish. • The Thames Path follows the river for 296km (184 miles) from its source, making it the longest riverside walk in Europe.
History of The River Thames... The river has been an important trade and transport route since prehistoric times. London's fame and fortune is due its river. All through the Middle Ages the Thames was one of London's main highways. Barges and river boats brought fish, wood and wool to the City, while hundreds of watermen in small rowing boats ferried people up and down. By the 1700s, trading ships were arriving carrying all kinds of goods for sale in the City. Tea, silk and a fortune of spices came from the East. Sugar was brought from the Caribbean, timber from Norway and iron ore from Sweden. The Thames was so busy that traffic on the river could hardly move. Sometimes, dozens of ships queued for days along the banks, waiting to get to a dock to unload.
Things To Do At The River... • Walking • Boating • Canoeing • Rowing • Sailing • Cycling • Fishing • Visiting a Riverside Restaurant • Sitting in a Riverside Pub
Towns The freshwater River Thames winds its way across the counties of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey. From its source in Cricklade to the outskirts of London, there are so many towns to visit.