Appreciating life in the slow lane

The speed of the flow of the Thames increases the further downstream you go (towards the sea). This is because more and more tributaries join the river adding their water to it.


799 million litres/day
(176 million gallons/day)



3,594 million litres day
(790 million gallons/day)


5,696 million litres/day
(1,253 million gallons/day)


This speed can be very stressful for fish.

The backwater channels we’ve created provide a number of benefits such as shelter for fish, including fry (young fish) and eels, during times of high flows and flood; good spawning opportunities; and sanctuary for fish from potential predators.

The shallow waters warm up quickly in spring, giving fry an improved survival rate so they have a better chance of reaching adulthood.