Thames Towns

The Upper Thames from Lechlade to Oxford

The River Thames from Lechlade to Oxford passes through some wonderful countryside, and close to some beautiful villages, stately homes and pubs. It is difficult to believe that you are only a few miles from a large city such as Oxford, nor that you are less than 4 hours' journey time from London itself. Below St John's Lock at Lechlade, the Thames passes under Bloomer's Hole footbridge, which carries the Thames Path over the river, and was put in place by an RAF helicopter, as there was no suitable road access. The Thames next passes the village of Buscot and the notable Queen Anne Rectory. 

The Thames at Buscot Lock - photo by J Briggs

 Kelmscott Manor near Lechlade

Buscot Park a fine Adam style mansion sits by the Thames here owned by the National Trust. The Thames wanders off eastwards and the surrounding countryside is both rural and lonely. Just beyond Buscot lies Kelmscott Manor - a Tudor gem, the former home of William Morris - and open to the public in the summer months. It is before the river reaches Eaton Hastings, where the church is by the river but the village is over a mile away.

 Again, the Thames now passes through some gentle countryside with hardly a car in sight, until the isolated Grafton Lock is reached.


 Grafton Lock - photo by Jeannette Briggs

 Radcot Bridge - photo by Nigel James and reproduced by kind permission

Radcot Bridge is about a mile away with its famous bridge, built in the 12th century with Gothic style arches. It is the oldest bridge on the Thames and lies next to The Swan hotel. This bridge was the site of a Civil War battle between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers under Prince Rupert in the 17th century. A younger bridge (dating from only 1787!) straddles the navigation channel  serving locals and the many passing motorists. It was again in the wars quite recently after a boat collided with it causing it to be shut for weeks-much to the inconveniece of many dependent motorists and pedestrians.

,From here the River Thames is isolated and almost cut off from "civilisation". There are no roads of any description, few signs of habitation, but you are more likely to see otters and kingfishers on this stretch of the Thames.

The road from Bampton to Buckland crosses the Thames at Tadpole Bridge. This has The Trout Inn by the river for you to enjoy.  

The River Thames at Tadpole Bridge - photo by Rod Allday and reproduced by kind permission

The bridge at Newbridge - photo by Tim Kirby and reproduced by kind permission

You next reach Newbridge, which - contrary to its name - is again one of the oldest bridges over the River Thames, and has a riverside pub which rejoices in the name "The Rose Revived."

Beyond here the Thames widens, meanders over water meadows for several miles, past Northoor and Bablock Hythe (neither of which are actually on the river), until it approaches the outskirts of the city of Oxford. (See  separate article about Oxford in this section.)


Written by Jeannette Briggs


Just a few of our favourite pubs and places to visit - nothing scientific, just our choice !


Radcot Bridge - The Swan Hotel

Tadpole Bridge - The Trout Bridge
Newbridge - The Rose Revived
Lechlade- The Trout Inn

Things to Do

Buscot Park - National Trust
Kelmscott Manor - Society of Antiquaries

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