Check river levels & weather conditions before you venture out – If in doubt, don’t go out!
Download useful apps – Windy, Met Office, BBC Weather, Strava, What3words
Visit www.gopaddling.info/paddlepoints - this is a really useful interactive map from British Canoeing that helps you plan your journey highlighting launch points, weirs, hazards, etc.
If you love camping & paddling, then check-out Facebook page @pitchandpaddleuk – which has been set up by our lovely paddlers Gene & Paul – listing all the best, paddle accessible campsites in the UK.
‘Buddy-up’ with a paddling partner if you can; remember to take your mobile phone in waterproof case & let people know your route/estimated arrival time, etc
Carry your Waterways Licence with you at all times. Yearly licences can be easily purchased from British Canoeing
Follow the ‘Rules of the River’, ie. stay on the right & give way! If you are in any doubt, please contact us before you venture out on the river – STAY SAFE!
And as always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
The Isis is historically the stretch of the River Thames that flows from the Cotswolds until it joins the Thame at Dorchester, Oxfordshire. Today the name Isis is almost exclusively used for the part of the river that flows through the City of Oxford, particularly by the University and it is nearly always used in the context of rowing.
We paddle on various stretches of the Thames/Isis, in particular:
Park: The Riverside Pub (pay & display)
Postcode: GL7 3AQ
What3words: /// budgeted.ages.otherwise
Launch: slipway to the side of pub, through wooden gate
Route: upstream to Inglesham or downstream to Buscot via lock
Notes: OK, whilst it's not in Oxfordshire we couldn't not include this in our list of favourite places to paddleboard. You can also hire SUP & other watercraft from Cotswold Canoe Hire, adjacent to pub. Car park & pub gets extremely busy in summer months. Alternative parking & launch across bridge at Riverside Park.
Park: Ye Olde Swan main car park (across bridge from pub)
Postcode: OX18 2SX
Launch: from riverbank (note quite steep if low river level). Launch from pub slipway not permitted
Route: upstream to Grafton Lock or downstream to Old Mans Bridge via Radcot lock
Notes: lovely picturesque area to paddle with ‘islands’ to paddle around. Popular boating route so prone to heavy river ‘traffic’. Check out Ye Olde Swan camping & glamping facilities.
Park: opposite The Trout pub at Tadpole Bridge, layby before bridge
Postcode: SN7 8RF
Launch: from riverbank (note quite steep). Launch from pub garden not permitted
Route: upstream to Rushey Lock or downstream past nature reserve to Tenfoot Bridge
Notes: lovely still, quiet stretch with lots of wildlife. Popular boating route so prone to heavy river ‘traffic’. Really nice riverside pub but gets extremely popular, so make reservation plans!
Park: The Rose Revived main car park (across bridge from pub)
Postcode: OX29 7QD
Launch: from riverbank through pub garden
Route: upstream or downstream to Northmoor Lock
Notes: lovely, safe area to paddle. Shallow ‘standing depth’ parts of river by pub. You’re welcome to use pub facilities, toilets, free car parking. Car park does get extremely busy in summer. Suggest park in rear ‘overflow’ car park and walk down side ‘track’ to riverside. Great dog walking both north and south along Thames Path.
Park: Godstow Road car park (free) – height restriction
Postcode: OX2 8PU
Launch: from riverbank by car park
Route: upstream via Godstow Lock to Eynsham or downstream to Fiddlers Island/Oxford
Notes: Free toilets. Nice, easy access & lovely paddle at the historic Port Meadow bathing place. Nice view of City spires on wide stretch of river. Nice Watch out for shallow waters within first 10-15 mins of paddling downstream.
Park: The Riverside Centre car park (free) or adjacent car park at Falcon Rowing Club
Postcode: OX4 4AZ
Launch: from slipway or riverside
Route: upstream to City Centre with alternative routes to Folly Bridge or via River Cherwell to Magdalen Bridge via Christchurch Meadows. Downstream to Iffley Lock.
Notes: Oxford at its best but watch out for the rowers, kayakers punters and big river cruisers!
Park: Hales Meadow Car Park (no height restriction)
Postcode: OX14 3NN
Launch: from riverbank or steps.
Route: upstream to Abingdon Lock or downstream to Abingdon Marina, Culham Lock
Notes: Pay & Display (card operated). Toilets (pay). Campervan parking available. Look out for the resident terrapin by Abingdon Marina! Popular rowing & boating area. Pull up on your board at ‘Annie’s by the Boathouse’ tea rooms by the bridge!
Park: Shillingford Bridge Hotel (pay & display)
Postcode: OX10 8LZ
Launch: from riverbank (note quite steep if low river level) by pub garden
Route: upstream to Wittenham Clumps/Days Lock or downstream to Waterfront Café, Benson
Notes: lovely wide stretch of river, popular boating area in summer. Some very stunning riverside properties! If paddling downstream with stopover at Waterfront Café, it’s extremely busy with hire boat cruisers and portage at small park adjacent to Café. There’s also an outdoor café at Shillingford Bridge Hotel.
Paddling on the River Cherwell (pronounced Char-well) is idyllic and it’s an opportunity to explore the hidden, quiet backwaters of Oxford! Paddling on the Cherwell is one of our favourite experiences.
Park: Sunnymead Park (free car parking), Oxfordshire
Postcode: OX2 7QQ
Launch: from riverbank. You’ll need to walk down from car park through the park to the riverside
Route: downstream offers the best accessible paddling. River flow is minimal. The route will take you behind stunning residential properties to the popular Vicky Arms pub, then onwards to Wolfson College & the Cherwell Boathouse. For a longer paddle, go past Cherwell Boathouse, along past University Parks to Parsons Pleasure and the ‘rollers’. You’ll need to portage round the rollers and join up the Cherwell again which will bring you nicely to Magdalen Bridge!
Notes: Be aware that it’s a small free car park and gets busy in summer. There is parking on nearby residential streets. You’ll need to wear footwear to walk down from car park to riverside. It can get quite muddy at launch platform as dogs enter water from there!
We are so fortunate to have the added benefit of paddling on the Oxford Canal – the hidden gem of Oxfordshire and widely considered to be one of the prettiest waterways in the UK. Because of minimal water flow, we have the flexibility to paddle both north & southbound.
*Due to the narrow canalways, please always give way to narrowboats – pull over to side, on knees.
*Please remember to wear footwear at all times – you don’t know what’s lurking beneath!
Park: Annie’s Tea Rooms, Canal Yard, Thrupp, Oxfordshire
Postcode: OX5 1JZ
Launch: from canalbank
Route: northbound upto Shipton Lock where it joins the River Cherwell or southbound past The Jolly Boatman pub towards Kidlington/Oxford through various locks!
Notes: the Canal & River Trust have now installed a Pay & Display meter. Definitely one for post-paddle tea & cake or pull up at The Jolly Boatman for mid-way refreshments. Also fantastic paddling & blackberry picking in September!
Park: The Plough, Wolvercote Green, Oxfordshire
Postcode: OX2 8BD
Launch: walk from pub green over bridge and launch from canal bank
Route: northbound via lock towards junction where you can either turn left & join Dukes Cut or right to go north to Thrupp (via many locks!) or go southbound all the way past Jericho into the heart of Oxford!
Notes: there is now a Pay & Display meter at Wolvercote Green with limited parking spaces. You can park in the pub car park but need to give your reg. number to pub (during opening hours)