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This map collates the adventures listed above with other pictures taken on shorter jaunts. Move your mouse-pointer over the camera icons on the map to preview the photos. Click the links above for more information on each trip.


River conditions:

The Environment agency uses a network of monitoring stations across the country. Each one has its own datum - a height in metres fixed relative to mean sea level. This height is expressed as metres above ordnance datum (mAOD). The river levels provided for each monitoring station are all relative to its site datum:


Station name: Blakes Lock (upstream)
River name: River Kennet
Typical range: 0.00m to 0.20m
Highest level on record: 0.80m on 14 December 2000
Site datum: 36.20mAOD


Station name: Caversham Lock (upstream)
River name: River Thames
Typical range: 0.07m to 0.30m
Highest level on record: 1.02m on 16 June 2003
Site datum: 36.51mAOD


Station name: Twyford
River name: River Loddon
Typical range: 0.50m to 2.26m
Highest level on record: 3.36m on 07 November 2000
Site datum: 32.00mAOD


giweather joomla module
Station name: Blakes Lock (downstream)
River name: River Kennet
Typical range: 1.71m to 3.20m
Highest level on record: 3.54m on 14 December 2000
Site datum: 33.49mAOD

Station name: Caversham Lock (downstream)
River name: River Thames
Typical range: 2.00m to 2.77m
Highest level on record: 3.76m on 04 January 2003
Site datum: 33.26mAOD

 Environment Agency's online River Thames conditions update service


External links:

River levels:!Map 
River conditions:
Canoe trails:
Paddlers' map:
Canoe forum:


4th August 2018

From The Cunning Man pub down the River Kennet, through Reading town to Blake's Lock. 

Total distance: 7.1 km

Date of track: 4.8.2018
Start time: 16:00:44
End time: 18:06:34
Total track time: 2h 05m 50s

See map below for geotagged photos (mouse-over camera icons), and to download the GPX


After a pub lunch at The Cunning Man on the River Kennet I was waved off to make my journey home down the river. First under the pretty Burghfield Road bridge and 1.3km through barge-lined countryside to the, easy to portage, Southcote Lock. It’s then another 1.3km to the next lock, under the railway and past Fobney Nature Reserve on the right. Fobney Lock is a difficult portage. I chose the right bank and regretted it as there are kissing gates. The left bank will be more direct, but the flight of stairs on the other side are unavoidable. However, in its favour it is an interesting old industrial arrangement.

Beyond Fobney Lock there is a pleasant 1km stretch with tall rustling trees before the A33 dual carriageway marks the beginning of Reading urban area. Over the next kilometre, warehouses start to dominate the left bank and then the gardens of terrace houses line the right bank, all with unique ways of abutting the water. It’s less than a kilometre to the next lock, County Lock, just after passing under the oppressive 40m wide ring-road bridge. County Lock is quite easy to portage, but remember to press the button for the traffic lights before getting back in your craft on the other side! The next 500m through Reading town centre is narrow so river traffic must take it in turns. I had to wait for about 15 minutes here, but there is a small weir to play with to pass the time. With the green light I was swiftly through Reading’s riverside area, passing numerous restaurants, a ‘beach bar’ and the townsfolk enjoying the sunshine.

A couple of hundred meters further down and the river splits. I took the left channel to pass the ruins of Reading Abbey and the Olde Reading Geol. I finished my journey at Blake’s Lock where a friend helped me carry my kayak across to the other bank to dry while we enjoyed a refreshing pint or two at The Fisherman’s Cottage.


15 Sept 2018

Northward trip from The George at Loddon Bridge, and back.

Total distance: 6.7 km

Date of track: 15.9.2018
Start time: 14:17:10
End time: 16:46:39
Total track time: 2h 29m 29s

See map below for geotagged photos (mouse-over camera icons), and to download the GPX


I put in from the riverbank at Loddon Bridge (with some difficulty), there’s a gap in the fence at the far corner of The George pub. I had hoped to make it all the way to the Thames (and get a bus home from Wargrave) but gave up and turned back when progress became too difficult. It was an enjoyable paddle though, to be revisited.

After passing the railway and motorway bridges the route quickly becomes pleasantly wild and overgrown, however it was a kilometer until I was sufficiently distant from the noise of the motorway to feel I was in the countryside. There were a lot of low branches but progress was quite easy and enjoyable, with a gently current. The stream then turns North and follows the edge of Dinton Pastures Country Park and is very nice indeed. I saw a kingfisher here, and passed a kayaking family, people enjoying a walk along the footpath alongside, and two or three anglers.

It’s another kilometre to the pretty old Sandford Lane bridge, which has two low brick arches to pass under, followed by a marvellous rope footbridge connecting two parts of someone’s garden. 500 metres later the stream splits and progress becomes tiresome. I took the main stream to the right which began well but soon became very overgrown until after about 300m the stream was completely blocked by fallen trees. Anticipating more problems further on, I turned back, my boat full of twigs and leaves. The return was upstream which at some points required firm effort against the current. Back near my starting point at Loddon Bridge, the graffitied motorway underpass was now an evening hangout for the local hoodlums, so I got out on the other side and packed up my kayak in the cinema carpark while my wife came to collect me.


21st July 2018

From Reading, Kennetmouth to Henley via Thames backwaters (St. Patrick's Stream, River Loddon, and Hennerton Backwater).

I thoroughly enjoyed this adventurous paddle downstream from Reading to Henley, going much of the way through backwater streams. At Henley, I packed up my inflatable kayak, had a refreshing pint, then took the 850 bus back to Reading (£4.60, 30 mins)

Total distance: 14.4 km

Date of track: 21.7.2018
Start time: 12:34:35
End time: 17:21:28
Total track time: 4h 46m 53s 

See map below for geotagged photos (mouse-over camera icons), and further down to download the GPX


  • Sonning Bridge
  • Sonning Bridge
  • Entrance to St. Patrick's Stream
  • St Patrick's Stream
  • St Patrick's Stream
  • St Patrick's Stream confluence with Loddon
  • River Loddon at Wargrave
  • Under the bridge to Hennerton Backwater!
  • Hennerton Backwater
  • Looking back, Hennerton Backwater (left) re-joins Thames
  • Henley at last

Pushing off at Kennetmouth is easy, providing barges aren’t moored all along the low banks. Otherwise there is a pontoon at the Dreadnought. It’s 2.5km downstream to Sonning. Portage at Sonning lock is easy, exit and re-entry at water level. Then under the charming Sonning bridge (and past the Coppa Club pub immediately after). From there it’s about 2km to the entrance of St. Patrick’s stream.

Entry to St. Patrck’s stream is on the right marked by a post with “Not suitable for Launches” sign, easy to miss without foreknowledge. The stream bypasses a lock so there is a noticeable current, in fact most of the way down I was just steering rather than paddling. Great fun avoiding reed beds and low branches, in some places current feels very quick requiring precise and timely course adjustments. Before getting to the confluence with the River Loddon the stream is pure wilderness (except for the odd fishing swim - although I only passed one angler), dancing blue damselflies and wildfowl were aplenty. The stream become wider after the confluence with the Loddon (watch for anglers here) then the banks become gardens of posh Wargrave residences- quaint cottages contrast with ultra-modern barns. A nice stretch though, under some fine footbridges. The backwater altogether 2km.

The Loddon joins the Thames here and after a kilometre (past the St. George and Dragon pub) the right flow leads to a marina which and the entrance to Hennerton Backwater, under a very low bridge. The backwater is, again, lined with posh houses and gardens and is about 2km in length. Very pleasant and navigable in either direction. Re-joining the Thames, it’s a kilometre to Marsh Lock. This one is not so easy to portage. Alighting is fine, but re-entry on the Henley side is down a 1.5m ladder.

Then it’s a final kilometre to Henley. I packed up my kayak near Henley bridge (I was fortunate to arrive just before the annual Henley Swim commenced which could have forced me to land further up stream). The number 850 bus leaves from just beyond the Little Angel pub on the other side (where I enjoyed a refreshing pint) on Saturdays it passes every hour at ten to the hour (£4.60). I was home forty minutes later.



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