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Thread: Paddling from Oxford to London, tips, advice etc

  1. Cool Paddling from Oxford to London, tips, advice etc

    Hi all. I have had a good search before posting this as there is some great information on this stretch already.
    However as I pack and plan for this trip I am after learning from others mistakes (less painful) and get some general advice.

    I'm in a 2 person (plus little one) Sevlor Tahiti inflateable and am going on my own.

    I'm getting the coach from London to Oxford and am looking to put in on Castle Mill Stream as this looks closest from the coach stop.

    Is Casle Mill Stream navigable? I can see boats on google satalite view but don't want to rely on this single source of info?

    I will be wild camping each night. I have a camping hammock so just need some riverside trees and peace and quiet.

    Can I easily re-fill my canteen at the locks? Will they let me use the loo?

    Are there any places riverside where I can re stock supplies or safely leave my boat to go shopping?

    Many thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'll start:

    Castle Mill Stream is navigable provided you get on at the right bit, the more eastern arm. There is a high sluice after the low bridge which you might have to climb down and the river below can be shallow but it's all good to go.

  3. #3
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    Shopping and refreshment

    There is a Tesco in Reading right next to the river - just up from Marsport (and where the Kennet and Avon canal joins I think). There are a number of pubs along the way by the river (and a couple up side streams that are fun to explore). There are water points at most locks - to serve the boats that pass along the river.

    Note the lock keepers might ask you to see your license to use the river (BC membership includes this) - I'll say nothing on wild camping other than most banks (other than locks) are privately owned and the owners look to charge users.

    Where are you looking to finish?

    After Richmond the river is increasingly tidal and challenging due to flow (tidal and river), obstacles, traffic and rules of where you should be positioned.

    You might find this useful: https://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk...ine_pages_.pdf

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    I'll start:

    Castle Mill Stream is navigable provided you get on at the right bit, the more eastern arm. There is a high sluice after the low bridge which you might have to climb down and the river below can be shallow but it's all good to go.
    Could you be more specific? I aim to get in adjacent to Hythe Bridge Street and turn left!

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twicezero View Post
    Shopping and refreshment

    There is a Tesco in Reading right next to the river - just up from Marsport (and where the Kennet and Avon canal joins I think). There are a number of pubs along the way by the river (and a couple up side streams that are fun to explore). There are water points at most locks - to serve the boats that pass along the river.

    Note the lock keepers might ask you to see your license to use the river (BC membership includes this) - I'll say nothing on wild camping other than most banks (other than locks) are privately owned and the owners look to charge users.

    Where are you looking to finish?

    After Richmond the river is increasingly tidal and challenging due to flow (tidal and river), obstacles, traffic and rules of where you should be positioned.

    You might find this useful: https://www.boatingonthethames.co.uk...ine_pages_.pdf
    I will get out at Putney and get the bus home. I have BCU licence. Thanks for info on water.

  6. Default

    Well I'm packed and almost off to bed. Last chance for some whiskey with ice and a few songs played loud.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    London
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    Have a great paddle!

  8. Default

    Well Castle Mill Stream proved to be a heart sinker right early this morning. Bridges with an inch clearence thats me lying down too. Then a weir with no porterage then 3 inches deep.
    I sighed and packed the boat down and walked to The Thames getting in near Oxford Ice Rink.
    Things cheered up immediately and I have had a great paddle and am currently lying in a hammock suspended from whathaveyou on the island lock at Little Wittingham.
    Very special time.

  9. #9
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    Sorry if you were disappointed with Castle Mill, the bridge is low but we usually get under in canoes lying right down. The weir is passed on the right down a wall about 4 feet high and then the water is shallow but usually floatable. None ideal but wash't it supposed to be an adventure?

  10. Default

    I'm not moaning but the drop from that wall was more than my inflateable or my courage could handle.

    Anyway I awoke to the sound of a weir today. Sun is shining. Camped with two open canoe paddlers who are doing a source to the sea trip. Nice blokes.
    Its too nice here to get a move on just yet.
    Last edited by tallchris99; 7th-June-2018 at 07:27 PM.

  11. Default

    I"m set up in my hammock just past Pangbourne. Lovely scenery the last two days.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Surrey
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    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

  13. Default

    Well it was a good trip all in all. I found a few things out for myself. Not all locks offer potable water. I had three in a row without and was getting a bit thirsty. Having a paddle tether (new to me) seemed sensible given the number of weirs. Wild camping was no problem, no one bothered me at all.

    How far did I go? Oxford to Reading, what's the distance?

  14. #14
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    Apr 2009
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    London
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    Glad you had a good trip. I don't know if there is space on http://www.paddlepoints.net/ to add in water at locks?

    A question / comment - paddle tether? Like a leash? Pros and cons.

    Personally a weir is where I'd want one least. Entanglement would concern me.
    I'd rather (a) keep hold of the paddle and (b) tightly lash in a spare paddle if I needed one.


    Choices are always a balance of risks, YMMV.
    Last edited by twicezero; 11th-June-2018 at 10:07 PM.

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