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 held its first face-to-face meeting for 18 months in Staines on Thursday August 18th.

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, 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 this summary of the situation.


Port of London Harbour Revision Order Consultation
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.
Hilary Pereira, Chair RTS Upper Tideway Branch has prepared this summary. The consultation is open until October 12th 2021. The River Thames Society will be submitting a response to the consultation and encourages other tidal Thames users to contribute their views. Full details, including how to respond to the consultation, are on the PLA website


Environment Agency Charges Consultation
RTS urges River Thames boat owners to respond to this Environment Agency consultation open until September 16th 2021.

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