Canoe Days Out

Surrey - Thames & Abbey Rivers - Laleham to Down Abbey Stream & return on Thames

This page was submitted by David Dooley (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Go to Laleham, south of Staines. Go through Laleham on the A376, keeping left at the mini round-a-bout. Turn right down Ferry Lane to the Thames. Follow the road to the second car park, just past the camp site.

For those with SatNav the postcode is TW18 1SS.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - The car park has toilets, and is not too expensive. There is a 2.1 metre height barrier to the car park. To launch cross the road to the Thames.

General Description - This trip is not suitable for long doubles or boats with fixed underhung rudders.

Launch and paddle upstream. At Penton Hook Lock keep left around the lock island. After passing a small island on the left, but before getting to the marina, you will find the entrance to the Abbey Stream on the left. The stream passes houses and then becomes quite narrow and twisty. In February it was easily passable, but in August we had to force our way through the rushes in places. Trees and shrubs are also obstacles, but passable at present. There are occasional footbridges. and eventually the M3 bridge. The stream is wider in places with varied vegetation and bird life, not to mention the fish.

The stream ends at twin weirs with rollers between. Tough boats can slide down the rollers with occupants in the boat. The Thames is rejoined by the weirs of Chertsey Lock. You can paddle back up the Thames for a 5 mile journey, or carry on downstream before turning for a longer journey.

The Abbey Stream makes a nice contrast to the wide Thames. It is rarely paddled. A knife and/or saw might be useful. Please try it and clear a little of the vegetation as you go, otherwise there is a danger that in a year or two it may become completely impassable.

Comments on this trip

30 Aug 2016
Paddled this yesterday in a tandem canoe, and didn't really know what to expect given that it's the height of summer!There were a few tricky bits where the vegetation made paddling impossible, but I was able to haul us along by grabbing onto the plants on both sides of the boat. There were a couple of limbo trees and one we had to scramble over, but no serious instructions and no portages apart from the little weir st the end. When you're looking for the start you need to keep going until you get to the sailing club at the marina then turn left by a small slipway. It doesn't look promising at first, but this is the right way. It's a silly little ditch and not any sort of serious paddle, but it's good for a few hours of fun and worth doing if only to tick it off.

Steve C
27 Nov 2011
Myself and a friend did the trip today. Great round trip, a very quite backwater. Very overgrown with weed, reeds and overhanging trees. As you get closer to the weir you have no choice but too go over and through reeds virtually grounding the boat. This was very hard work but passable with some effort. The slide down the rollers at the weir made it all worthwhile.

paddlin pete
05 Apr 2009
Tip one - don't turn left at the first opening, it's a dead end with an angry nesting swan.
The route was clear in early spring until you reach a fallen tree across the stream - it is passable thanks to people cutting their way through. A low bridge would not be passable if the water level was high.
A pleasant diversion off the main river

Fran Faulkner
19 Oct 2007
Bob and I kayaked up the Abbey stream from the Chertsey Camping and Caravanning Club camp-site back in June. There was a huge tree that had fallen, blocking our path. There was just enough space to push the kayaks through underneath the 'trunk' end of the tree, while we braved stinging nettles to disembark, scramble up the bank and climb over the massive trunk. Next time I'll have my pruning saw with me. However, I'm not sure it would have coped with this humungous tree!!

Keith Day
08 Jul 2007
I paddled this in July 2007 as part of a party of 10 open canoes (most were members of the The advice "A knife and/or saw might be useful." was definitely an understatement!! A saw and a good pair of pruning shears/loppers was most definitely essential. With these the stream was passable - without them we would not have got through!

Abbey Stream ends at the wear at Chertsey Lock and you will have to navigate across the outflow from the wear. This can be tricky, especially after periods of rain. One of our canoes was caught unawares by the force of the flow and capsised so keep your wits about you.

I added some photos to the album but my camera failed half way.

Ron Dryden
18 Sep 2006
Well you've bought back some fond memories for me.

I lived in Staines till 1967 (I was 16)and used to paddle a pram dinghy up the Abbey Stream from the Penton Hook end. I never made it to the far end and the rollers. It was overgrown by trees then, but must have had more water in it as I don't recall it being so overgrown as your photo's. I recall there being plenty of fish including the odd Pike.

I now live near Shrewsbury but will have to bring a canoe down and give it a go to see if I can make it to the rollers one day.

I also recall that the marina was either just being built or still gravel pits.

Happy paddleing.


Thames Conditions

Advise me of new trips

The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson