A pictorial guide to the River Thames


Heading towards Eynsham, the Thames becomes increasingly shallow and narrow round the many loops and turns. Although now thin and narrow, this part of the river is still well used by boats.

Eynsham is a large village in Oxfordshire. The village grew up near to the historically important ford of Swinford on the flood plain of the River Thames.

Eynsham ('Egonesham') is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle where it is described as one of four towns captured by the Saxons from the Britons in AD 571.

Swinford Bridge

Height above sea level: 59.68 metres

Swinford bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges on the Thames. This lovely sandstone bridge was completed in 1767 and is still privately owned. Motorists crossing the bridge pay a toll of only 5p to cross. This seems a very silly amount considering that the wages of the person collecting the toll has to be paid. However, with the amount of traffic passing over the bridge approximately £150,000 a year is collected!

There has been a toll crossing at Swinford for close on a thousand years. Originally, as the name suggests, there was just a ford. It was a crossing for pigs. The toll at that time was 2d (2 pennies (about 1p in today's money). In the 1970s, after decimalisation, the toll was doubled to 2p and remained so until 1994.

The first vehicle over the new bridge in 1767 was a water wagon, bringing fresh water to the residents of Eynsham. In 1785 there were about five stage coaches a week crossing the river here and the present traffic is something like 3 million vehicles a year.

A Stage Coach
A stage coach
About 5 stage coaches crosses Swinford Bridge every week.

The Trout Inn a mile downstream
View of the river

Start of Voyage down the Thames Contents Page Introduction
Facts about the Thames Flooding Thames Basin
Pollution Erosion Tributaries
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©Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

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I teach computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.