River Thames Society

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RTS in Action

With the Coronavirus Pandemic restrictions being lifted, RTS members are once again out and about.

Meetings and group activities are now allowed  and some have already been held.

Our volunteers are active at our nature reserve at Bondig Bank, Marlow. Our River Wardens are walking their stretch of river and our volunteers will be present at any ‘River Thames’ events organised along the whole length of the river.

RTS Council
The RTS Council met at Staines in August for the first in-person meeting since February 2020.
The  Honorary Treasurer and Administrator reported that the financial position was good and membership had held up well throughout the pandemic and two years of lost summer activities.
Among items also discussed were actions arising from the AGM , the magazine, our website and cutter, our land at Bondig Bank , threats to slipway access ,  management of moorings , the Traditional Boat Festival and Tidefest and growing concerns about pollution in the river and catchment.
We welcomed an initiative by Hobbs of Henley to donate an amount for each article of clothing sold, agreed to continue with a membership leaflet campaign in Oxford , to award Skerries for Schools a grant towards a new pontoon and hold the AGM in April, possibly in Staines, with date and venue to be confirmed.
Peter Finch, Chairman


RTS Awards 2022

Nominations are invited for the annual awards, to be announced and presented at the 2022 AGM.
These are :
River Thames Society Shield – for an individual , group of individuals, organisation or corporate body making the most significant contribution to the well-being of the Thames.
Durant Cup – for an individual RTS member who has made a significant contribution to the life and well-being of the river.
We also administer the Thames Heritage Trust Awards given to groups and organisations involving young people which stimulate use of and interest in the river. These are :
THT Annual Awards – aimed to encourage volunteer youth activities which significantly benefit the Thames community and environment, stimulating use and interest in the river. The  winner receives a cheque for £ 2,500 and there are five further awards of £ 250 for chosen entrants from the RTS branch areas.
John Coleman Trophy – named after the founder of the THT, for an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Thames by promoting or protecting the river, by working with disadvantaged, young or otherwise needy groups or educating others about the Thames. The winner receives a cheque for £ 250.
If you can think of a scheme, group or individual who could qualify for any of these awards or need further information please contact Helen Batten at admin@riverthamessociety.org.uk, 01491 612456.

Details of previous winners are listed here.

Hammersmith Bridge

The Council of the River Thames Society is most concerned about the effect of the continued closure of Hammersmith Bridge on commercial and leisure river users as well as local residents. 

To mark the second anniversary of closure, the RTS Council endorsed this letter sent to the Editor of The Times.  Sadly, it was not published.

In August 2021, RTS Upper Tideway Branch Chairman Hilary Pereira prepared a summary of the situation which was updated in October 2021. Read it here


Port of London Harbour Revision Order Consultation. RTS Response
On August 18th 2021, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) started its formal consultation on a draft Port of London Authority (PLA) Harbour Revision Order (HRO). The HRO is intended to modernise the Port of London Act 1968, under which the PLA operates. It takes into account the nature of modern operations and technology in use on the river today and the continued evolution of the PLA as a modern, transparent organisation.

The River Thames Society has submitted this response to the consultation. 


Thames Vision 2050. RTS Response

This is a public consultation being conducted by the Port of London Authority. In July 2021, The River Thames Society submitted this response to a series of consultation questions

RTS River Wardens

The volunteer wardens undertake to walk beside the river at intervals throughout the year, and to report on any problems that they see.

Problems with the condition of the Thames Path (signs, potholes, broken gates, etc) are reported to the National Trails Office or other responsible authorities. Fallen trees that might be blocking the river and sources of pollution to the river are reported to the Environment Agency or the Port of London Authority.

Most wardens take a plastic bag with them to pick up litter on their walks.  Some of the reaches are trouble free and stay in good repair - so the warden's report is simply to say that all is well.  Some wardens like to tell us about the good things that they see on their reaches e.g. interesting birds or plants, improvements to the Thames Path, facilities for visitors or boats.

The warden duties are entirely voluntary, so we all act in our own ways. A few who live beside the river combine the wardenship with a daily walk. Others live at a distance from the river and being a warden is an additional reason for a riverside walk.

The wardens on the non-tidal reaches work in partnership with National Trails volunteers and there is always a need for additional volunteers to help tackle some of the tasks involved in keeping the Thames path safe and enjoyable.  If you would be interested in assisting with this work or finding out more about practical conservation activities please contact the Thames National Trails office, 01865 810224, thames.path@oxfordshire.gov.uk.

The Thames Path

The River Thames Society has played an important role in the development of the Thames Path. In 2021, the 25th anniversary of creation of the Thames Path was celebrated. This short document summarises the development.

River Thames Society Grants
RTS is able to consider applications for funding from river-related organisations . Resources will restrict amounts available but , as can be seen from this list, we are sometimes able to help with a wide range of projects connected to the Thames.
In the first iinstance, contact our Administrator, Helen Batten.

River Warden Co-ordinators: (non-tidal Thames)

Chairmen of the Upper Thames, Middle Thames and Teddington to Old Windsor RTS Branches.

River Warden Co-ordinator (Tidal Thames)

Peter Finch:  email Sailor1057@aol.com
Phone: 0208 969 9941/ 07711 419772


RTS Cutter

RTS owns a waterman's cutter Thames Guardian built by our Vice President Mark Edwards MBE at Richmond Bridge Boathouses. Bought in 2000 as a Millennium project the boat takes part in the  annual Great Race Race, other races and ceremonial events on the river. The cutter is available for use by other organisations and we are especially keen to see young people introduced to fixed-seat rowing. Further information from Barge Master Roy Miller.

Events along the River Thames

RTS volunteers regularly participate in events held along the whole length of the Thames. This gives us an opportunity to publicise our activities and to recruit new members.

Monitoring and responding to Planning Applications
The Chairman of each of our five branches is responsible for reviewing and responding to planning applications in close proximity to their section of the River Thames.

In September 2020, RTS submitted a response to Water Resources South East concerning their 2050 Water Resources Management Plan.   

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RTS Volunteers

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RTS Volunteers

Volunteers working at Bondig   Bank (1).

Volunteers working at Bondig Bank