Thames relay: Benson to Henley for Bank Holiday Monday

A bottle filled with water from near the Thames source is making its way downstream as part of the Totally Thames programme.

Totally Thames is the rebranded and much extended annual Thames Festival.

The journey started last Sunday 17 August.

This bank holiday weekend 23-25 August the bottle travels from Benson Lock to Henley.

On Saturday swimmers are taking the bottle from Benson to Goring.

On Sunday rowers are responsible for getting the bottle to Caversham.

On Bank Holiday Monday it’s in the hands of traditional boat owners who will deliver the bottle to the River & Rowing Museum for safekeeping overnight.

The bottle reaches London at the end of the month.

RNLI: 25 years after Marchioness disaster

Next Wednesday 20 August those who died in the Marchioness tragedy will be remembered during the services at Southwark  Cathedral. It will be 25 years since the early morning accident on the River Thames.

The cathedral, which is a short distance downstream from the scene of the collision, has the memorial just inside the main door.

Today, as a result of a recommendation following the inquests, the RNLI has a lifeboat station at Waterloo Bridge. It is the busiest  in the country.

Today’s Telegraph Magazine has a good profile of the service run by donations and mainly volunteers.

Thames Estuary Path opens

Mucking Creek

Mucking Creek

Visitor centre cafe

Visitor centre cafe

Launch ribbon on kissing gate at Mucking Creek

Launch ribbon on kissing gate at Mucking Creek

This week has seen a glimpse of the future. A ribbon across a kissing gate on Mucking Marshes was cut on Thursday marking the ‘opening’ of the Thames Estuary Path.

The route is about 30 miles long starting at Southend and ending at Tilbury Ferry. Two sections are awaiting confirmation and fencing.

The ceremony was on the west bank of Mucking Creek and a short walk from a new visitor centre on the Thameside Nature Park Reserve. The Cory Environmental Visitor Centre has not only toilets, a bookshop and a cafe but a flat roof allowing walkers to enjoy panoramic views down the estuary and across to Kent. The high ground of Mucking Marshes is the result of the dumping in the 20th century of London’s rubbish.

Now the swooping sea gulls are out numbered by the return of other birds. This year the blackberries are ripening early.

At Mucking, the estuary path runs briefly by the shoreline before crossing Mucking Creek and heading for the redundant Mucking Church on the way to Tilbury Fort.

The Thames Estuary Path leaflet lacks detail and to me remains confusing even when read alongside an OS map. There is still a lot of work to do and the new signage needs enhancing.

But there is enough to see which raises a real possibility that the start of the Thames Path could one day be in Southend. Whatever the problems in Essex there are many more on right bank – the Kent side.

Tilbury Ferry carries you across the River Thames to Gravesend from where the Thames Path could continue upstream towards Erith. The biggest investment will be a footbridge at the mouth of the River Darent.

Rolf Harris leaves Bray by boat

Rolf Harris moved to Bray because it reminded him of his “river’s-edge home in Perth” Australia.

Early this morning, Friday 4 July, he left by boat on his way to downstream Southwark Crown Court where he was due to be sentenced.

Gloriana on way to Henley

This weekend the Queen’s row barge Gloriana is travelling upstream from St Katharine’s Dock to Henley for next week’s regatta.

She will be at Bray on Sunday night ready to arrive at Henley on Monday.

New Thames bridge at Reading

The Secretary of State for Transport has upheld the approval for a pedestrian/cycle bridge across the River Thames at Reading.

The controversial scheme involves building the crossing between Reading Bridge and Fry’s Island. It will link Christchurch Meadows on the left bank with the towpath on the right, the town side.

In April there was concern raised about felling 30 year old trees on the meadows and  a Green councillor raised objections.

The Thames Path will gain little except more local walkers enjoying a circular walk from Caversham.

The Trout in top 50 pubs

The Trout Inn at Tadpole is included in The Times 50 Best Pubs For Summer.

The pub, much changed since the 1980s, now charges from £130 for  a double room bed and breakfast. Being a remote area some walkers might be tempted. A pint of bitter is £3.60.

Maidenhead Thames Path dispute: New facts

Kate Ashbrook has produced the best report I have seen on the situation at Maidenhead where the council intends not only revoking its own decision to reopen the towpath but also reducing green open space.

There is also a link to a petition.

‘Thames Path – with no view of the river’ by Kate Ashbrook can be read here.

Enderby Wharf: Uncertain future

There is growing concern in Greenwich about the future of Enderby Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula.

This is where the world’s first telegraph cables were made enabling people to send and receive messages in minutes rather than days or weeks.

Much of the wharf is being redeveloped by Barratt Homes and the focus of concern is the future of Enderby House which was built in about 1835 by Charles and George Enderby.

Elizabeth Enderby was the mother of General Gordon of Khartoum who spent his last night in England at the house.

Updates on the situation and consultations can be found on a new Enderby Wharf website.

Bugsby’s Reach saved

Bugsby’s Reach, the first reach on the Thames Path, is not going to be renamed Waterman’s Reach.

The idea of marking the 5ooth anniversary of the Waterman’s Company sounded  a good idea but losing the name Bugsby’s meant losing a link with the mysterious past.

The move was first reported announced last year by the Port of London Authority and the consultation in March this year.

It’s a welcome and surprise decision. It is also surprising that only 47 people responded to the consultation.

The decision notice has been issued by the PLA.

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