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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    37

    Default USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    I'm a member from the USA and count myself fortunate I found your forum again after 10 years away.

    I ( the boat handler), my wife (aka SWMBO), and a friend (the crew), are back hiring a Horizon 4 Le Boat for the week of 20 April cruising from Benson Marina to Penton Hook. Ten years ago we went the other direction and had an excellent trip. Then, your great suggestions and advice helped us survive without injury and made the trip most memorable. You made us read Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) and we loved it.

    We boat in the USA and previously cruised in France, Holland, and Scotland (Inverness to Fort William). Most recently, last September, we spent two weeks on the Rideau Canal in Canada. Don't pass this one up if your finance committee will approve it.

    We've been away too long and would appreciate advice or tips you want to pass along. Again, you might be saying "thank goodness" we'll not be on the river with this Yank. As you may recall I did fly fast jets (RAF and USAF) over your country for 10 years without many complaints...except from the local residents and their livestock with whom I'm fully sympathetic.

    I've downloaded the new River Thames app described in this forum. Wish I'd had it ten years ago. I've restudied Imray's Map of the Thames, scale 1:50,000. I've reread Imray's fine "The River Thames Book" by Chris Cove-Smith and Nicholson's "Ordnance Survey Guide to the River Thames". I've studied UK internet sites. Any new recommendations? I know the rules and I will obey, again.

    We are interested in recent info, not in the books, you can provide regarding this route. We've never had a problem with theft when taking normal precautions. Any worries this season? We may moor up near Abingdon, Henley, Cookham or Clivedon, Marlow, Windsor, and Hampton Court. We're very much open to suggestions again.

    We love to visit pubs, down a pint of fine ale, and hike/shuffle through the countryside; we try to make friends on our river trips.

    Your recommendations, again, would be most welcome. If you're near the river during our week look for a Le Boat barge appearing craft, the boat handler, SWMBO, and crew.

    Dave

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Medway
    Posts
    19,371

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by djones18 View Post

    Your recommendations, again, would be most welcome. If you're near the river during our week look for a Le Boat barge appearing craft, the boat handler, SWMBO, and crew.

    Dave
    Hi Dave, not much has changed on the The Thames over last 100 years less over the last ten.
    Doubt things will have changed much since your last visit except the odd new bridge or two.
    Enjoy your visit.
    Under no circumstances mention Brexit to a living soul unless you want your day ruined, ,
    Just to get you in the British frame of mind, it snowed here this morning.
    Speaking to my aunt in Michigan yesterday, apparently its snowing there as well.
    Last edited by oldgit; 03-04-19 at 07:24.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Sussex
    Posts
    4,195

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    It's a shame you're not going upriver at all - Oxford is well worth a visit (as long as you avoid the overtly touristy bits.
    If your boat can get under Folly Bridge, there are excellent moorings at East Street above Osney Lock and the Benson base say you should be able to get to the moorings (I contacted them just now).

    As you're going downstream - you'll be going much faster than on your previous visit, so you may be able to accommodate a side trip to Oxford.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Alness / Loch Ness Northern Scottish Highlands.
    Posts
    8,550

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit View Post
    Under no circumstances mention Brexit to a living soul unless you want your day ruined, ,
    And in return, we promise not to mention Trump.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Reading, Berkshire
    Posts
    259

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    I remember your previous visit, I can't believe it is 10 years ago!

    Your visit coincides with the Easter weekend so the river and moorings may be a bit busier that usual at this time of year. From Benson you will be going upstream if you want to go to Abingdon. Worth doing though if you have time. Dorchester is one of our favourite spots with a lovely walk across the fields into the town which has loads of history. Visit the Abbey tea roos if they are open, run by the local Womens' Institute.

    Heading downstream the following are our favourite spots. Others will have their own:

    Wallingford. This will be the first town you will come to. It's not the most attractive of the riverside towns to be honest, but there are some nice spots. In particular a very pleasant wine bar which also sells real ale. Walk into the town and turn right at the traffic lights. There are good moorings both sides of the river upstream of the bridge, but they tend to fill up quite quickly.

    Goring: Good free moorings below the lock and some good pubs and restaurants. The hotel bar on the Streatley side of the river is very pleasant as well.


    Beale Park: This is one of our favourite spots. Loads of free moorings and very peaceful, but it's in the middle of nowhere with no restaurants of pubs other than the café in the park, although there is a pub up on the main road accessed by footpaths and past a old church. It's a really nice walk


    Pangbourne: Good free moorings, but they are very popular. Plenty of pubs and a good Co-op supermarket for supplies. We prefer the Ferry Boat on the Whitchurch side of the river.


    Reading: best avoided to be honest (and I live there)


    Sonning: Coppa Club at the Great House is good, with some moorings on the downstream side of the bridge


    There are some good casual moorings between Sonning ad Shiplake with a couple around the islands at Shiplake, although there seem to be a few liveaboards there which tends to restrict the options


    Wargrave: The St George & Dragon has a couple moorings outside. If they are full keep going to Lashbrook moorings on the right hand side. They are free for 24 hours and usually pretty quiet. It is a 15 minute walk back to the pub down a footpath and back road for most of the way


    Henley: Plenty of moorings for a fee. We prefer the ones below Henley Bridge and past Phyllis Court. Steve of SRB Moorings collects the mooring fees


    Medmenham: A long stretch of quiet moorings managed by SRB. A walk along Ferry Lane will bring you to the Dog and Badger pub.

    Marlow: Some decent moorings, but they tend to be busy. Plenty of shops and restaurants

    Cookham: This is a must stop for us. Peaceful moorings and plenty of hostelries in the village. There are also a couple of spots on the back of the lock island by arrangement with the lockkeeper. A stunning spot


    The National Trust mooring places along the Cliveden reach look very pleasant, but we have never stopped there for some reason


    The restaurant at Boulters lock has some pontoons, but depth is a problem


    Windsor has places to moor on both sides, on the Brocas but watch the depth, and on the other bank up towards to railway bridge and leisure centre. Plenty of places to eat. We like a small Italian in a back street not far from the station, but the name escapes me for the moment

    We tend not to venture much further downstream very often so my knowledge of moorings below Windsor is limited. I am sure others will be able to help, plus there will be plenty of people with their own favourite spots. Wherever you go I'm sure you will have a great time, weather permitting. The section of the river from Benson down to Henley is, in my view, probably the most attractive part of the river and relatively quiet.

    I hope this helps. We will probably be on the river in that area at some point over the bank holiday weekend so will keep a eye out for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit View Post
    Hi Dave, not much has changed on the The Thames over last 100 years less over the last ten.
    Doubt things will have changed much since your last visit except the odd new bridge or two.
    Enjoy your visit.
    Under no circumstances mention Brexit to a living soul unless you want your day ruined, ,
    Just to get you in the British frame of mind, it snowed here this morning.
    Speaking to my aunt in Michigan yesterday, apparently its snowing there as well.
    Got it! Under no conditions including enhanced interrogation will I utter the B...word. But only if anyone who meets us doesn't mention the T...word. You know, the individual who can't remember the country where his father was born and regularly calls the BBC "the enemy of the people"...as if!! Besides, we may request asylum if our border with Britain is closed.

    Wait, wait, did you say snow?
    Last edited by djones18; 03-04-19 at 21:06.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueBlue View Post
    It's a shame you're not going upriver at all - Oxford is well worth a visit (as long as you avoid the overtly touristy bits.
    If your boat can get under Folly Bridge, there are excellent moorings at East Street above Osney Lock and the Benson base say you should be able to get to the moorings (I contacted them just now).

    As you're going downstream - you'll be going much faster than on your previous visit, so you may be able to accommodate a side trip to Oxford.
    Great. Thanks. We intended to discuss this with Benson going upstream a bit and Oxford East Street moorings might work well. Haven't checked the distance but I think we might make Oxford during first afternoon we have the boat leaving Benson at about noon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by ProDave View Post
    And in return, we promise not to mention Trump.
    Oh my gosh, you mentioned the T-word. Guess you will owe me a pint if we ever meet.
    Last edited by djones18; 03-04-19 at 21:05.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    Quote Originally Posted by DWT View Post
    I remember your previous visit, I can't believe it is 10 years ago!

    Your visit coincides with the Easter weekend so the river and moorings may be a bit busier that usual at this time of year. From Benson you will be going upstream if you want to go to Abingdon. Worth doing though if you have time. Dorchester is one of our favourite spots with a lovely walk across the fields into the town which has loads of history. Visit the Abbey tea roos if they are open, run by the local Womens' Institute.

    Heading downstream the following are our favourite spots. Others will have their own:

    Wallingford. This will be the first town you will come to. It's not the most attractive of the riverside towns to be honest, but there are some nice spots. In particular a very pleasant wine bar which also sells real ale. Walk into the town and turn right at the traffic lights. There are good moorings both sides of the river upstream of the bridge, but they tend to fill up quite quickly.

    Goring: Good free moorings below the lock and some good pubs and restaurants. The hotel bar on the Streatley side of the river is very pleasant as well.


    Beale Park: This is one of our favourite spots. Loads of free moorings and very peaceful, but it's in the middle of nowhere with no restaurants of pubs other than the café in the park, although there is a pub up on the main road accessed by footpaths and past a old church. It's a really nice walk


    Pangbourne: Good free moorings, but they are very popular. Plenty of pubs and a good Co-op supermarket for supplies. We prefer the Ferry Boat on the Whitchurch side of the river.


    Reading: best avoided to be honest (and I live there)


    Sonning: Coppa Club at the Great House is good, with some moorings on the downstream side of the bridge


    There are some good casual moorings between Sonning ad Shiplake with a couple around the islands at Shiplake, although there seem to be a few liveaboards there which tends to restrict the options


    Wargrave: The St George & Dragon has a couple moorings outside. If they are full keep going to Lashbrook moorings on the right hand side. They are free for 24 hours and usually pretty quiet. It is a 15 minute walk back to the pub down a footpath and back road for most of the way


    Henley: Plenty of moorings for a fee. We prefer the ones below Henley Bridge and past Phyllis Court. Steve of SRB Moorings collects the mooring fees


    Medmenham: A long stretch of quiet moorings managed by SRB. A walk along Ferry Lane will bring you to the Dog and Badger pub.

    Marlow: Some decent moorings, but they tend to be busy. Plenty of shops and restaurants

    Cookham: This is a must stop for us. Peaceful moorings and plenty of hostelries in the village. There are also a couple of spots on the back of the lock island by arrangement with the lockkeeper. A stunning spot


    The National Trust mooring places along the Cliveden reach look very pleasant, but we have never stopped there for some reason


    The restaurant at Boulters lock has some pontoons, but depth is a problem


    Windsor has places to moor on both sides, on the Brocas but watch the depth, and on the other bank up towards to railway bridge and leisure centre. Plenty of places to eat. We like a small Italian in a back street not far from the station, but the name escapes me for the moment

    We tend not to venture much further downstream very often so my knowledge of moorings below Windsor is limited. I am sure others will be able to help, plus there will be plenty of people with their own favourite spots. Wherever you go I'm sure you will have a great time, weather permitting. The section of the river from Benson down to Henley is, in my view, probably the most attractive part of the river and relatively quiet.

    I hope this helps. We will probably be on the river in that area at some point over the bank holiday weekend so will keep a eye out for you.
    DWT: We also can't believe it has been 10 years and are delighted to be back. Thank you for all the excellent information. We'll use it for planning this trip. We forgot the River might be busy over the holiday period and will plan accordingly. Did we see you on our last visit? Le Boat seem to have upped their game with a better line of boats. Our last boat had several feet of duct tape around the bow which I assume was not for decorative purposes. If you see an old guy steering "Le Barge" with two younger (or young at heart) ladies giving him instructions please wave us down for a hello.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lurking in the Thames Valley
    Posts
    248

    Default Re: USA Visitor Boating your Thames (Again)

    One thing of which you should be aware:
    The EA have cut the number of Lock relief staff. It is now much more usual to find a lock unmanned (unpersonned?) during what should be normal cruising/working hours.

    Look out for the blue "Self Service" boards as you approach, and be prepared for "Miss Crew" to be operating the locks more than a decade ago.

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