Canoe Days Out

Berkshire - Thames, Mill Stream, Cuckoo Weir - Windsor Leisure Centre to Dorney Rowing Lake (&return)

This page was submitted by Fran Faulkner (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - From Junction 6 of the M4, head south on the A332 follow signs for Windsor, then the brown signs for Windsor Leisure Centre. Turn into the Leisure Centre car-park, (The first section if over 2.2 m high, or turn into the slipway just before the car park, and park large trailers under the road bridge).

For those with SatNav the postcode is SL4 5JB.

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

Suggested Launch Site - The car park is pay and display. (I thought the charges were far too high at £2 for 3 hours or £7 for longer. I parked on the other side of the A332 and walked back under the pedestrian tunnel - Keith) Launch from the small slipway in front of Windsor Canoe Club, or from the large slipway near the A332 road bridge.

General Description - Paddle downstream on the backwater inside the long island (Baths Island) and on down to Windsor Road Bridge. There is a nice view of the Castle on the hill. Turn before the bridge, and go upstream on the right of the river, passing the Brocas fields. After the rail bridge turn right under a green bridge (Lower Bargeman's Bridge) into the backwaters called Cuckoo Weir, although there are no weirs! Follow the right hand stream through the trees. On the left, is a swan rescue centre and low bridge. Paddle under the dual carriageway bridge,then under the footbridge known locally as the Chinese Bridge to re-join the Thames.

At the Thames turn right, and carry on upstream to Boveney Lock. The portage is on the left (rollers). Shortly after the lock, you will pass Eton College's Dorney Rowing Lake on the left/north bank, which will host the rowing and sprint kayak events at the 2012 Olympics. There are toilets in the LARGE boathouse! Cross the river and look for the white marina sign, one entrance to the Mill Stream is just past this on the south bank.

Paddle along the tree lined Mill Stream to the Racecourse marina. At the marina keep straght on towards the race track. The Mill Stream narrows between the racetrack and the marina. The Mill Stream then becomes more variable, sometimes wide and once almost blocked by a fallen tree. There are several foot bridges and one vehicle bridge over the stream. When the stream forks take the right hand stream. finally you will come to some moored (& sunk) trapped motor boats and a bridge with obstructions in front of the weir/sluice gates. Go back a few metres just past the wire fence at the beginning of the houses. Get out where convenient on the south bank in the trees of Clewer Park.

Portage about 300 metres. Follow the fences on your left to a tarmac path. Follow this path passing allotments on your right, then it turns sharp left, passing between houses to a road. Cross the road ahead (which is called Clewer Park) and turn right. Follow it round to the left, and turn left at the T-junction. There is a small slipway 20 yards along on the right hand side below the former mill. (see map of portage)

Paddle on down to the Thames.

At the Thames turn left (downstream) and continue to your start point.

Total distance is about 4 1/2 miles with only one lock, but a long portage. The trip can be extended along the Thames in either direction, or shortened by omitting Windsor bridge.

Comments on this trip

27 Aug 2016
Did the mill stream loop today (27/09/16) and it was easy going with no obstructions. Thanks for the detailed portage instructions I would probably never have got round to scouting it myself.

14 Oct 2014 are now hiring out canoes and we also do a fantastic guided canoe tour from Windsor up to Dorney lake and back. check out the website


Windsor Canoe Club
Swan Rescue Centre
Thames Conditions

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