A view across the river from the Thames Path

Winter walking along the Thames Path

29th January 2016

If you are thinking of taking a walk along the Thames Path throughout the months of January, February and March please keep an eye on the weather. If we've had a lot of rain it might have an impact on the trail section you want to walk.  Recently we have had some localised flooding on the trail, but for the most part the river has remained within its banks. However at this time of the year, it doesn’t take much rainfall to change this, so before setting out please do check the Environment Agency flood warnings.

The general rule is that most urban areas e.g. Oxford, Reading, Staines, Maidenhead, Windsor, most of Surrey's reaches and then of course through London - have a sealed or compacted surface.  Therefore, these sections will not generally suffer too badly during prolonged rainy weather. Most of the other areas, but particularly the upper reaches,  upstream of Oxford- Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, rural Swindon, Oxfordshire (outside Oxford City)  West Berkshire  - are river bank, water meadows, fields and some marsh lands. These sections of the Thames Path can be underwater on an annual basis. Through Buckinghamshire there is a mixture of both.

If you do encounter flood water on your walk please take care.  Walking through flood water is dangerous on many counts; there are new currents in the water as it swirls across the Trail; the depth of the flood water can suddenly changedue to the changes in the ground levels beneath the water; and, the edge of the main river channel is often not visible beneath the flood water.

The Thames Path can be an amazing place to walk along during the winter months, with many interesting things to see like the influx of migratory wading birds, and of course not forgetting that essential drink by the fire at the local riverside pub after your walk, but please do be aware of your surroundings, dress for the weather, and keep an eye out for flooding.

I Hope that you enjoy your winter walking along the Thames Path, and remember if you get some nice photos of the Thames in winter please do upload them onto the interactive map on our website.

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Thames Upper Reaches Ian Finch