The 210 mile (337 km) long River Thames rises in the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, flowing eastwards past Oxford, into the Chilterns and on through the centre of London to the east coast. The river has been an important trade route since prehistoric times, with many important places lining its route from Windsor, Hampton Court, Richmond, Kew, Westminster to Greenwich. Today the river is popular for boating and pleasure craft and many regattas are held along it in the summer.

River Thames at Windsor

Pleasure boats are now the main traffic on the River Thames at Windsor in Berkshire © TAB

The Thames Path runs along the banks of river from its source near Cirencester for 184 miles (294 km), all the way to the Thames Barrier, on the tideway below Greenwich. Most of the route runs through lush countryside with wooded areas and rich meadows.

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