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About River Thames

River Thames from source to estuary

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The Thames is one of the World's most fascinating and beautiful rivers. From source to sea, its 215 miles flow from springs in Gloucestershire through rural and developed areas to London and on to the imposing tidal estuary into the North Sea.

From a tiny trickle at the source to an estuary several miles wide, the River Thames has varying characteristics and offers a wide range of scenery and experiences. RTS has divided the Thames into five sections, three non-tidal and two tidal.

 

Upper Thames
The first 88 miles from the source to Mapledurham, near Pangbourne, Berkshire. 

Middle Thames
A stretch of 38.5 miles including Reading, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor.

Old Windsor to Teddington
The final 17.3 miles in which the river widens as it passes through Staines and Walton-on-Thames before the final lock at Teddington.

Upper Tideway
A short stretch (11 miles) of tidal river passing through the heavily populated London Boroughs of Richmond and Hammersmith & Fulham as far as Putney Bridge.

Central Tideway and Estuary
Probably the most famous 60 miles from Putney passing the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, London Docks, London Gateway before entering the North Sea.

 

River Thames Society’s experts have contributed a page exploring each section in more detail.

The River Thames in 1935
We've come across this film in the British Film Institute archive that shows the River Thames from source to mouth in 1935.

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Upper Thames

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Upper Tideway

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Middle Thames

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Central Tideway & Estuary

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Old Windsor to Teddington

River Thames Publications