Conservation is one of the primary aims of the society. The Thames is a wildlife corridor running from remote rural landscapes through major cities to the wide expanse of the estuary. It gives a sense of space to the heart of London. It is rich in human and natural history. The RTS is the guardian of the river, constantly alert to developments that might damage this resource or reduce public access. The streams,reed beds, lakes, water meadows, old buildings and riverside trees need protection, which is achieved by raising the widest appreciation of their beauty.
The RTS has been working in partnership with the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust to make a Guide to the Natural Thames. The project has listed more than 140 nature reserves along the Thames between the source and the sea. These are places within a mile of the Thames that people can visit and enjoy wildlife. Some are small, like Bondig Bank - the RTS's own reserve. Others are large and better known, e.g Chimney Meadow in Oxfordshire and Rainham Marshes in Essex. The Guide is now published as a website and will become a book in 2013. The Guide is based on the knowledge and interest of members of the RTS and the Thames Rivers Restoration Trust, in collaboration with many other organisations. Click here to visit the exciting new Thames Wilderness website
Another part of action on conservation by the RTS is the “Tidy up the Thames” campaign. The quality of the river has been improved in recent years so that salmon and otters have returned. Although these creatures will be rarely seen, the frequent sightings of herons on the tidal and non-tidal reaches are a sure sign that there are plenty of fish. There are many good places to look at wildlife, some large, like Rainham Marshes, others are small, like the RTS’s own reserve near Marlow -Bondig bank
Members of the RTS keep a watch on the river and the Thames Path with a team of wardens. Warden Scheme Page
The RTS is keen to preserve the man-made structures along the Thames that have historical interest. One reason why we fought hard to preserve the lock-keepers cottages was because the resident lock-keepers have established beautiful gardens, which are a delightful feature of boating and walking along the Thames. RTS Campaigns.
The RTS has recently been successful in achieving recognition of the historical significance of some paddle and rymer weirs recognised with the resulting listing of some of these structures.