Guidance

River Thames: restrictions and closures

Navigation on the River Thames may be restricted or closed in certain areas. Find out where and when these restrictions and closures are.

Boating by all types of vessel can resume on the non-tidal River Thames. We have completed surveys of every reach, marking all identified obstructions in the main navigation channel.

All locks are self-service until further notice. Public power functionality has been restored at all locks that have it installed (Godstow to Molesey except Blakes).

Before boating on the River Thames, you should check the current river conditions.

River closures: updated 27 May 2020

When Where What’s happening
Friday 29 May 8pm to 6am Monday 1 June 2020 and Friday 5 June 8pm to 6am Monday 8 June 2020 Boveney reach M4 Smart Motorway construction: the river between Bray Lock and Monkey Island will be closed to traffic during the stated days. Bray Lock will also be closed due to its proximity to the works.
Saturday 13 June and Sunday 14 June 2020 Boveney reach M4 Smart Motorway construction contingency dates: this closure will take place to allow for unforeseen delays to the M4 motorway development.

River restrictions: updated 28 May 2020

When Where What’s happening
Wednesday 27 May 2020 until further notice St John’s to Teddington Lock Restrictions due to Coronavirus 2020: there is an obstruction in the river in Iffley reach. Sunbury Lock is closed due to a sunken boat. Bell Weir and Teddington locks can be used by prior arrangement only.
Saturday 5 September 2020, from 8:30am to 6pm Cookham reach Cookham Regatta: the navigation channel will be on the Bourne End, right side of the river.

Planned lock closures

The Environment Agency carries out a programme of works on the River Thames every year between October and Easter. This often results in the closure of a number of locks for relatively long periods.

The Environment Agency publishes the first issue of the programme in August each year. This is so that river users can plan their winter cruising and boat movements well in advance.

This programme of work is subject to change, due to weather and other circumstances. Revised issues of the programme of works are published throughout the winter, so river users can keep up to date. To receive this information, sign up to the email update service.

Email updates and newsletter

You can subscribe to newsletters about navigation on the River Thames and email updates on River Thames closures and restrictions.

To subscribe to this service, email riverthames@environment-agency.gov.uk with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line.

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Published 12 February 2020
Last updated 28 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Boating by all types of vessel can resume on the non-tidal River Thames. Information on restrictions updated.

  2. Dates of closure in Boveney reach changed to Fri 29 May to Mon 1 June 2020 and Fri 5 June to Mon 8 June 2020.

  3. Latest information regarding lock and reach restrictions due to coronavirus.

  4. Coronavirus summary updated. No update to the detailed notice at this time.

  5. Latest information on lock and river restrictions: fallen tree blocking Marsh Lock has now been removed. Debris blocking Bell Weir has been removed but passage still currently by arrangement only - see notice for more info.

  6. Latest information on lock and river restrictions: Osney, Sandford and Abingdon Locks now back on handwind. Fallen tree at Temple Lock - navigate with care. Bell Weir Lock is closed due to jammed debris.

  7. Update on Sunbury Lock hazard and new info for Osney Lock mechanical failure.

  8. New information added for Sunbury lock navigational hazard.

  9. New info added for Iffley reach obstruction and Sandford Lock.

  10. New closure notices added for the M4 Smart Motorway construction - Sat 30 May to Sun 31 May 2020, Sat 6 June to Sun 7 June 2020 and contingency dates on Sat 13 June to Sun 14 June 2020.

  11. New restriction information for Abingdon and Sunbury Lock.

  12. New information added for Bell Weir Lock restriction.

  13. New restriction notice in line with Government restrictions due to Coronavirus.

  14. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information added: hazards in the river may not be marked. The Environment Agency is unable to mark or remove hazards until further notice.

  15. Emergency lock closure notice added for Sunbury Lock (Fri 6 March 2020 until further notice).

  16. Teddington lock closure notice removed - Teddington Lock is now open.

  17. New lock closure notice for Teddington Lock (Wed 26 Feb until further notice).

  18. Under River closures, Reading University Head of the River Race due to take place on Saturday 29 March has been cancelled due to river conditions and details withdrawn .

  19. River restriction for Burway Rowing Club Head (Saturday 22 February 2020) removed due to cancellation of the event. River closure for Kingston Head of the River race (Saturday 29 February 2020) changed due to change of time.

  20. New notices added for Phyllis Court Club Spring Time Trial (Sun 5 April 2020) and Cookham Regatta (Sat 5 Sept 2020).

  21. New emergency closure notice for Marsh Lock from Tuesday 18 February 2020 until further notice.

  22. New closure notice for Reading University Head of the River Race on Saturday 29 February 2020.

  23. Hambledon and Rushey lock closure end date extended to 31 March 2020 due to bad weather conditions delaying the contractor work. Sandford, Shifford and Whitchurch lock work completed at end of January so removed from list.

  24. First published.