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River Thames Cruise Guide - Oxford To Lechlade
We cruised the upper River Thames from Oxford (Osney Lock) to Lechlade as part of our summer cruise 2010 and due to water and weather conditions completed our trip to the current end of navigation, half a mile above Lechlade at the 'Round House' on foot.
The River Thames has all the characteristics of a lowland river above Oxford with very few striking changes in topography. The river meanders for mile upon mile over water meadows and flood plains only gently rising through just over 43 feet via 10 locks and weirs over 28 miles.
There is little to see and not much civilisation along this section of the Thames' course.
Free Environment Agency visitor moorings are few and far between and what there are are mostly rough meadow moorings. Many land owners along the course charge mooring fees, some of which have no notices of charges displayed! Charges vary between £3 and £5 per 24 hrs. Eynsham Lock has around 120 feet of 'proper' moorings below the lock and just 60 feet above and there are around 120 feet of free EA moorings at 'The Riverside' pub in Lechlade, but nothing to tie up to!
We were not really impressed with the cruise but we had to do it 'because it's there'! We wouldn't do this cruise again, unless the Thames & Severn Canal, currently under restoration, opens in our cruising life-time!
Anglo-Welsh and Oxford Cruisers both operate narrowboat holiday hire out of The Boat Centre, Eynsham, a couple of miles to the west of Oxford. We spoke to a number of hirers and found that the ones that cruised upstream to Lechlade were mainly disappointed with their trip, whereas those we spoke to that headed downstream through Oxford, Abingdon and beyond were generally pleased with their experiences.
The following are hamlets and villages along and close to the Thames course between Oxford and Lechlade:
Lechlade is a popular resort for Thames boating. Boats of different types can be hired from here, from rowing boats to river cruisers.
The highest lock on the Thames is St John's Lock, at Lechlade, where there is a statue of Old Father Thames overlooking the boating activities and some pretty miniature cottages in the garden.
The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley composed A Summer Evening Churchyard at Lechlade which includes the lines:
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire
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