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River Thames – non-tidal

The River Thames is navigable from Lechlade, downstream to the sea, becoming tidal below Teddington Weir and Lock.

River Thames Map

Facts & Stats

135 miles


The length of the non-tidal River Thames that is navigable.

45 locks

From Lechdale to the sea

Technically, Cricklade is the head of the navigation but few boats venture above Inglesham and the old junction of the river with the Thames and Severn Canal at the Round House (where there is no navigation authority).

The Thames is joined by the Oxford Canal via Sheepwash Channel and Duke’s Cut at Oxford, by the river Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal at Reading and the River Wey Navigation at Shepperton. Other waterways join the tidal Thames.

A charter in 1197 first gave conservation rights for this river to the Mayor and Corporation of London. Above Staines, local communities maintained the river. Boats were able to reach Oxford from the twelfth century. There were gradual improvements and in 1771, an important Act of Parliament was passed increasing the number of commissioners and dividing the river into five districts above Staines. The new commissioners were granted wide powers of improvement and built eight new pound locks.


Waterway notes

Maximum Boat sizes

The non-tidal Thames, from Cricklade Bridge (head of the Environment Agency’s jurisdiction) is  135 long, although with care, small boats can manage another 5 miles to Thames Head Bridge.

Navigation authority


Useful info

  • There is an obelisk 230 yards (210 metres) below Teddington Lock showing the boundary of the Environment Agency’s responsibilities with the Port of London Authority, which manages the tidal river.
  • Teddington Lock is manned at all times. Other locks on the non-tidal Thames are manned by lockkeepers at certain times, and open for self-operation at other times.