McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Lechlade upon Thames

McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Lechlade upon Thames


Lechlade on Thames, West Oxfordshire

Spot type:

Picturesque Cotswold village and countryside flat water river paddle


Controlled river flow. Generally slow flow, low wind location, although exposed downstream reaches can be very windy. Avoid during winter flood, and don’t paddle after rain


Tourist boats, Swan pedalos, sewage pollution (after rain), wind, high flood flow.


Easy access with a car park (paid) at the Riverside pub. Alternative access at the Trout Inn (free parking, paid launch). You can also camp at the Trout Inn.

Popularity (1-10):


This is a stunning section of the River Thames, teeming with interest and wildlife. Irrespective of whether you head upstream or downstream, you will find features of interest. If you head upstream the river becomes quieter, narrower and faster flowing as it heads beyond the limit of boat navigation. If you’re lucky you might see kingfishers, otters and river voles. If you head downstream, the river is generally quite calm, with locks and weirs controlling the flow. The old statue of Father Time, which once marked the head of the Thames has been moved to the first lock (St John’s Lock).

The locks need to portaged around unless you’re invited in by a lockeeper.

At high flows (definitely not suitable for beginners), there is surfable river wave at one of the lock weirs. This is only for the experienced however, and you will need a helmet and body armour as it’s close to concrete.

There are numerous pillboxes on the banks, remnants of times well left behind, and you might be amused by teenage boys showing off to the friends and prospective girlfriends as they run and jump off them.

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