Short Canoe Camping Trip Along Thames

Here are the notes for my first overnight canoeing trip down the Thames. I thought it might be useful for someone else doing a similar trip.

Day 1: Bablock Hythe To Pinkhill Campsite – 3.7km

We launched on the east side of the river opposite the Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe (51.735252, -1.371328).  It took an hour to prepare the boats and we set off at 3:30pm. There is a carpark where we could leave a car overnight. It was about 4km from the launch site to Pinkhill lock. This is about an hours paddling at a comfortable speed.

It’s a beautiful stretch of the Thames with very little traffic and noise.  It feels really peaceful.

Pinkhill lock has a totally beautiful campsite. It is situated on an island with a lock on one side and a wier on the other. It is really quite and relaxed. There is plenty of space but it has a really intimate feel because the campsite is limited to five tents only (although frankly you fit 10 tents on the site). You can have open fires and the trees provide plenty of kindling. There is a toilet with a shower around the back of the lockmasters’ house. Our kids (5 and 8 years old) loved it. It felt very safe and was a perfect enviroment for them. You can get your boats out of the water to the left of the moorings and carry them to the campsite.

Day 2 – Pinkhill Lock To Wolvercote

The journey from Pinkhill Lock to Wolvercote is around 9km depending on the route that you take.  For example, you can go via Kings Lock or further north.   The river is straighter than day 1. This is the view from the Pinkhill lock down the Thames towards Oxford.

We left the Pinkhill campsite around 11am and arrived at Wolvercote around 2pm.  We stopped for lunch along the way by mooring up by the side of the river a short way from the Kings Lock.

We greatly enjoyed the trip and can highly recommend it as an easy overnight route for canoeing on the Thames.

Campsites on the Thames river

I’ve started to research campsites which I can visit with a canoe or kayak along the Thames. I haven’t found a good website with a map and list. I thought it might interest other people and so I’m putting it on this blog. I’ve started a new category called microadventures. I’m based in Oxford and so have only research the campsites around this area.

Going from upstream to downstream.

Rushey Lock Campsite

01367 870218

Shifford Lock Campsite

01367 870247

Barefoot Campsite

Badswell Ln, Appleton, Abingdon OX13 5JN

Pinkhill Lock

01865 881 452

Eynsham Lock Campsite

01865 881324

Kings Lock

https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/thames-path/accommodation/kings-lock
It’s basically wild camping and has no facilities. No toilets etc.
01865 553403

Bridge House Caravan Park

01865 407725

Days Lock

01865 407768

Bridge House Campsite

bridge-house.org.uk
01865 858540

Riverside Campsite

better.org.uk
01491 835232

Hurley

01628 824334

Cookham

01628 520752

Places to kayak / canoe In Oxford

I have an inflatable canoe which I love to take the kids out on. There doesn’t seem to be very much information on locations to canoe in Oxford. Most of the places to kayak around Oxford are commercial -i.e. kayaks for hire etc.,. If you want to use your own boat is hard to find locations that are easy to get in and out of the water. So, here is my list of places that I kayak.

The Cherwell – North Summertown

You can canoe/kayak down the Cherwell river from North Summertown / Cutterslow. You drive to the park just off Water Eaton Rd, Oxford. You can park for free. The river is just 100m away. If I have another adult with me then I inflate the boat and carry to the river. There are two entrance points at the river. The right hand one is easiest. You can paddle down to the Victoria arms or left upstream (although this is sometimes blocked). There aren’t many spots to easily climb out for the picnic.


Paddling down with gourgeous tree either side.

The Thames – Wolvercote

You can kayak and canoe on the Thames on Port Meadow. You drive and park at Port Meadow Godstow Car Park. It is very easy to enter the water in the corner of the carpark next to the bridge. You can paddle down towards port meadow. The water is calm and you can stay out of the wind by keeping close to the bank. You can make a circular route by paddling down to the lock and then around back to the start. You may need to carry your boat around the lock. The water is generally quite shallow and it is very easy to quickly land and have a picnic.

This photo is taken down passed the lock towards the perch. There are lots of blackberry bushes and the girls loved having a picnic canoeing down the Thames.

If you go through the lock then you can do a circular route like this.

Thrupp Canal

This is an excellent spot for some gentle canoeing. There is actually a place to hire canoes from here. If you are bringing you own canoe then park at the back of Annie’s Tea Room. You can then carry all your gear up to next to the canal.

Here is where you enter the water. The carpark is at the back on the right. There is plenty of space by the benches to sort out gear and inflate your boat etc. The cafe is really close.

If you head north then you will have some lovely stretches of the canal lined with boats. The kids love finding out their names. You can also paddle south and you will go passed the pub.

Bablockhythe

The best place to enter the water at Bablockhythe is on the opersite side to the Ferryman Inn and caravan park. You basically can’t park on this site because it is private land. However, you can park on the other side of the river.

You can then enter than water on either the bank or the slipway.