Who owns the Thames Path?
Most of the land that the Thames Path crosses is privately owned by many different individuals. The Trail itself is a ‘public right of way’ - this means that you have a legal right to walk across the land as long as you keep on the Thames Path. The National Trails Office does not own any of the land the Thames Path passes over, but co-ordinates the management of the route.
Who looks after it?
A National Trails Management Group composed of representatives of the highway authorities through whose area the Trail passes (10 of them), Natural England, the Environment Agency and Tourism South East manages the Thames Path from the Source in the Cotswolds to Hampton Court on the edge of London. The Management Group publishes a Thames Path Management Strategy to direct the management of the Trail for five years at a time, currently 2006 – 2011.
Most of the day to day work is undertaken by a small team of National Trails staff, helped by Volunteers managed by the team, based within Oxfordshire County Council's Countryside Access – doing much of the physical maintenance and improvements, and providing a range of information for users.
In London Walk London manages the Thames Path with funding from Transport for London, and the boroughs (13 of them) undertake the maintenance.
Outside London the Thames Path travels through the following highway authorities areas:
- Gloucestershire County Council
- Wiltshire County Council
- Swindon Borough Council
- Oxfordshire County Council
- West Berkshire Council
- Reading Borough Council
- Wokingham District Council
- Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
- Buckinghamshire County Council
- Surrey County Council
In London the Thames Path travels through the following boroughs (highway authorities):
- City of London
- City of Westminster
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
- Richmond upon Thames
- Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
- Tower Hamlets
Who pays for looking after the Thames Path?
Generally up to 75% of the money needed to keep the Thames Path (from the Source to Hampton Court) in good condition comes from Natural England and the other 25% from the highway authorities and the Environment Agency. Opportunities are also taken to find funding for specific projects from a range of partners and grant aid bodies. In London, Transport for London funds most of the work with the boroughs also contributing.
Can I make a donation?
Yes you can! The National Trails team endeavours to maintain and improve the Thames Path National Trail and we would be very grateful for any support you can give. If you’d like to, please send a cheque (any amount would be welcome and help us in our work), made payable to “National Trails Trading” and send it to us
If you are interested in getting involved in voluntary work to care for the Thames Path, then please see volunteering opportunities to and find out how to get involved
How do I report fly-tipping?
Fly-tipping doesn’t occur too often on the Thames Path but when it does we take it very seriously. Fly-tipping creates eyesores in the countryside, can cause problems with pollution of watercourses, can attract vermin and, of course, detracts from people’s experience of using the Thames Path. Litter also can be washed up onto the Thames Path by flooding. Dealing with fly-tipping and litter takes up valuable resources in terms of time and money and, although local authorities are responsible for it, the National Trails team and others work in a multi-agency approach in order to manage and reduce the problem.
If you spot flytipping on the Thames Path then you should contact the local authority to report it. If this is not possible then contact us and we will report it.
Members of the public can also help the Environment Agency combat environmental crime by reporting incidents to the emergency hotline on freephone: 0800 80 70 60.