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Upper Thames: mooring and parking options


SFen

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We are off into the Upper Thames for a few weeks, and would love to know people's recommendations on mooring and parking. 

We are looking to stop a few places between Port Meadow and Lechlade.

Any info of mooring fees, etc, would also be great.

Also places to avoid and why! 

 

Thanks all

 

Edit: Thank you for your answers so far. I have realised a few more details may help, so...

1. We have cars that we take with us as we travel

2. We sometimes moor up for a few days at a time, and sometimes just for one night. 

3. We like mooring in the center of things, and out in the middle of nowhere, but we do need to be able to get on and off the boat, and be able to walk to the cars

Edited by SFen
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The mooring is easy, lots on ends of fields to moor on, but the car is a lot harder I would think (not that I have tried it).  The obvious thing to do it look for where there is road access, and then see if you can both park and moor near there.

 

places that come to mind

 

Bablock Hythe, by Ferryman Inn, pub and caravan park so will need permission to park, 24 hour public mooring adjacent 

 

New Bridge, pub mooring, or pay for field moorings, either pub on on road, if anywhere, to park

 

Tadpole Bridge, The Trout at Tadpole Bridge, bookable pub mooring, pub for parking, do a good Sunday lunch but of course not cheap! 
 

Radcot Bridge, pub or road for mooring, and lots of free field moorings

 

Lechlade, pub is pay and display for parking, look for street parking in the village possibly, lots of payable field moorings

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There is parking by the River at Kelmscott. 

ALso moorings. I don't know if anyone manages those moorings they used to be free but this could have changed. 

 

Very important to not block the road as the fire brigade come and do pump practice occasionally. 

 

IMG_20230908_103132.jpg.ba3c19d952345b880a3659e18956d3b6.jpg

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It is possible. You can moor a few hundred yards down from there on the field in some places which seems to be a farmers land.

 

Having said that there are some places owned by the EA which are leased by farmers for grazing. 

 

 

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Places to moor on the Thames tend to be two a penny if you just want to stop, and not get off the boat. Just tie to pretty much any tree overnight and be gone in the morning and no-one is likely to mind much. It is not like the canals though, where there are loads of little rural bridges to moor near and park by. Places like MM links to are few and far between IIRC, lthough I've only ever been on the upper Thames once and hated it, so never went back!

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3 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Welcome to the forum. Just to clarify, do you have a boat and a road vehicle that will also be moving with the boat?

Yes, we have a boat we are moving, and we have 2 cars that we will be taking with us

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21 hours ago, SFen said:

Yes, we have a boat we are moving, and we have 2 cars that we will be taking with us

Aha, the Gentle Art Of Carshuffling.

Start the day with boat (B) and the first car (C1) at point X, while the destination for today is point Y, ten miles distant where the second car (C2) has already been parked. The next planned boatmove will be to point Z, ten miles further on. So today's activity is

- Move B from X to Y (10 miles boating)

- Drive C2, with both crew, from Y to X (10 miles driving)

- Drive  C1 and C2 in convoy from X to Z (20 miles driving for each car equals 40 miles total)

- Drive C1, with both crew, from Z to Y (10 miles driving) with diversions for shopping as necessary

- Enjoy the rest of the day

That's sixty miles of driving for each ten miles of boating: maybe more miles because around wiggly rivers, roads often take even more circuitous paths. Or could try the bus, if it happens to be the AlternateTuesdayWithRinTheMonth ... 🙂

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22 minutes ago, PeterScott said:

Aha, the Gentle Art Of Carshuffling.

Start the day with boat (B) and the first car (C1) at point X, while the destination for today is point Y, ten miles distant where the second car (C2) has already been parked. The next planned boatmove will be to point Z, ten miles further on. So today's activity is

- Move B from X to Y (10 miles boating)

- Drive C2, with both crew, from Y to X (10 miles driving)

- Drive  C1 and C2 in convoy from X to Z (20 miles driving for each car equals 40 miles total)

- Drive C1, with both crew, from Z to Y (10 miles driving) with diversions for shopping as necessary

- Enjoy the rest of the day

That's sixty miles of driving for each ten miles of boating: maybe more miles because around wiggly rivers, roads often take even more circuitous paths. Or could try the bus, if it happens to be the AlternateTuesdayWithRinTheMonth ... 🙂

 

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43 minutes ago, booke23 said:

 

What was the problem? I've never been myself but it's on the list of places to go. 

 

We picked a week when there strong winds and a fair bit of fresh on. My memory is battling upstream through endless bends with vast banks of very high reeds at the sides. One could never straighten up, steer striaght and relax, made worse by the occasional hire boat hurtling down on the fast stream round the bends on my side and half out of control. One of them drove us into the massive banks of reeds at the side where we remained stuck for the rest of the day. Trapped by the strong and continuous cross wind blowing us hard onshore, and unable to pole off because we were in the reeds and nowhere near the bank. We eventually got off several hours later in the evening when the wind dropped.

 

Also like most rivers there is no towpath which means you can't stop and just get off anywhere you like, as you can on a canal. I find it give me a feeling of being trapped which I don't like. Perhaps a bit like claustrophobia. All in all a memorable trip, in that we shall remember never to do it again!

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12 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

Also like most rivers there is no towpath which means you can't stop and just get off anywhere you like, as you can on a canal. I find it give me a feeling of being trapped which I don't like. Perhaps a bit like claustrophobia. All in all a memorable trip, in that we shall remember never to do it again!

 

 Not totally true in that there is a towpath for much of its length, but it is for manual towing, as was traditional on the Thames, not mooring, and the right to moor are held by the riparian owners who very often charge. The Thames Path follows this where it can, and the walking rights could be secured from the riparian owners.

 

I think that you like full length boats and they will certainly be more challenging above Bascot, with the near 260 degree and tight bends, especially if you meet something coming the other way, but at 54ft I had no problem. I personally prefer the Thames above Oxford but for boaters only used t canals the mooring situation can be "interesting".

 

 

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1 hour ago, booke23 said:

 

What was the problem? I've never been myself but it's on the list of places to go. 

I think its a case of us all being different. I vastly prefered rivers to canals. The upper bit of the Thames is VERY bendy, bends like you have never seen on the canal system. I have done it numerous times and love it. If you own a tiny boat say a sixty footer or less then its not such hard work but if you own full length it can be hard work. My last two narrowboats where 70 and 68 feet and Ive taken a few hire boats up and down there work wise and still enjoyed it, however you need to be on the ball and its not a case of beer in one hand and tiller in the other. My Hudson was a heavy boat and it needed power on and full body weight against the tiller for some of the bends or you will be in the trees, a leisurely trip it aint in parts. Loved it though, great rural spots to stop and if done taking your time its fab. If you have a realy short boat its a doddle say sub fifty feet.

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33 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

We picked a week when there strong winds and a fair bit of fresh on. My memory is battling upstream through endless bends with vast banks of very high reeds at the sides. One could never straighten up, steer striaght and relax, made worse by the occasional hire boat hurtling down on the fast stream round the bends on my side and half out of control. One of them drove us into the massive banks of reeds at the side where we remained stuck for the rest of the day. Trapped by the strong and continuous cross wind blowing us hard onshore, and unable to pole off because we were in the reeds and nowhere near the bank. We eventually got off several hours later in the evening when the wind dropped.

 

Also like most rivers there is no towpath which means you can't stop and just get off anywhere you like, as you can on a canal. I find it give me a feeling of being trapped which I don't like. Perhaps a bit like claustrophobia. All in all a memorable trip, in that we shall remember never to do it again!


I had a similar impression of the Soar, from my trip in 1980. Took until 2019 to get a better impression on my second visit!

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18 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:


I had a similar impression of the Soar, from my trip in 1980. Took until 2019 to get a better impression on my second visit!

We absolutely loved the Soar. Can be fun in heavy rain if rapidly rising levels lol. I did a summer skippering a trip boat on there.

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4 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

We absolutely loved the Soar. Can be fun in heavy rain if rapidly rising levels lol. I did a summer skippering a trip boat on there.


Yes, indeed. We had spent several days in Leicester waiting for the water level to drop. Some of the bridges were a little tight. As I say, much more pleasant in normal conditions! 

https://scholargypsy.org.uk/2019/06/06/spring-cruise-2-kilby-bridge-to-trent-lock/

Edited by Scholar Gypsy
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3 hours ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

 

2 hours ago, MtB said:

 

We picked a week when there strong winds and a fair bit of fresh on. My memory is battling upstream through endless bends with vast banks of very high reeds at the sides. One could never straighten up, steer striaght and relax, made worse by the occasional hire boat hurtling down on the fast stream round the bends on my side and half out of control. One of them drove us into the massive banks of reeds at the side where we remained stuck for the rest of the day. Trapped by the strong and continuous cross wind blowing us hard onshore, and unable to pole off because we were in the reeds and nowhere near the bank. We eventually got off several hours later in the evening when the wind dropped.

 

Also like most rivers there is no towpath which means you can't stop and just get off anywhere you like, as you can on a canal. I find it give me a feeling of being trapped which I don't like. Perhaps a bit like claustrophobia. All in all a memorable trip, in that we shall remember never to do it again!

 

2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

 Not totally true in that there is a towpath for much of its length, but it is for manual towing, as was traditional on the Thames, not mooring, and the right to moor are held by the riparian owners who very often charge. The Thames Path follows this where it can, and the walking rights could be secured from the riparian owners.

 

I think that you like full length boats and they will certainly be more challenging above Bascot, with the near 260 degree and tight bends, especially if you meet something coming the other way, but at 54ft I had no problem. I personally prefer the Thames above Oxford but for boaters only used t canals the mooring situation can be "interesting".

 

 

 

2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

I think its a case of us all being different. I vastly prefered rivers to canals. The upper bit of the Thames is VERY bendy, bends like you have never seen on the canal system. I have done it numerous times and love it. If you own a tiny boat say a sixty footer or less then its not such hard work but if you own full length it can be hard work. My last two narrowboats where 70 and 68 feet and Ive taken a few hire boats up and down there work wise and still enjoyed it, however you need to be on the ball and its not a case of beer in one hand and tiller in the other. My Hudson was a heavy boat and it needed power on and full body weight against the tiller for some of the bends or you will be in the trees, a leisurely trip it aint in parts. Loved it though, great rural spots to stop and if done taking your time its fab. If you have a realy short boat its a doddle say sub fifty feet.

 

 

Interesting, as people tend to rave about the upper Thames. Like everything in life opinions and experiences vary and discussion is good. I'll just have to get up there myself sometime and see how it goes!

Edited by booke23
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2 hours ago, MtB said:

 

We picked a week when there strong winds and a fair bit of fresh on. My memory is battling upstream through endless bends with vast banks of very high reeds at the sides. One could never straighten up, steer striaght and relax, made worse by the occasional hire boat hurtling down on the fast stream round the bends on my side and half out of control. One of them drove us into the massive banks of reeds at the side where we remained stuck for the rest of the day. Trapped by the strong and continuous cross wind blowing us hard onshore, and unable to pole off because we were in the reeds and nowhere near the bank. We eventually got off several hours later in the evening when the wind dropped.

 

Also like most rivers there is no towpath which means you can't stop and just get off anywhere you like, as you can on a canal. I find it give me a feeling of being trapped which I don't like. Perhaps a bit like claustrophobia. All in all a memorable trip, in that we shall remember never to do it again!

It is really only like that for the last hour or so on the approach to St Johns lock. Before that the river is much straighter and the bank in many places allow informal mooring on a field.  The Thames seems different to other rivers in that unless it says otherwise or is obviously someone’s garden you can stop.

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On 08/09/2023 at 08:04, SFen said:

3. We like mooring in the center of things, and out in the middle of nowhere, but we do need to be able to get on and off the boat, and be able to walk to the cars

You won't find much of the centre of things above Port Meadow. Lechlade is a pleasant town with plenty of bank to moor to, otherwise there are a few small villages not very close to the river.

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58 minutes ago, Onewheeler said:

You won't find much of the centre of things above Port Meadow. Lechlade is a pleasant town with plenty of bank to moor to, otherwise there are a few small villages not very close to the river.


Bampton is pretty much the centre of English Morris Dancing, I believe (and not very close to the river)...

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Other villages might dispute that (other than the 3 km or so to the village, but two nice pubs there). A moribund side that I used to dance with spent a year trying to learn Bampton style, it's difficult as you don't always start off the left foot. Satisfying when we all got it right, but we went back to our energetic version of Ducklington.

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