St John's Lock

St John's Lock, near Lechlade, is the highest lock on the River Thames at 76m (250 feet) above sea level. It is 1.85 km (1.15 mi) from Buscot Lock and was named after a nearby priory, established in 1250 (it no longer exists).

Around the lock

St John's Lock is home to the statue of Old Father Thames which was originally created for Crystal Palace. It was removed following a fire in 1936 and donated to mark the source of the Thames. To protect it from vandalism, it was moved to its present location at St John's Lock, Lechlade, in 1974.

Just by the lock is a miniature typical Cotswolds garden, and there are picnic benches where one can sit and watch the boats go by. Across the bridge is a pleasant pub with a beer garden overlooking the River Thames downstream from the lock.

Beyond the lock

The area beyond the lock offers sprawling fields along the River Thames, and you can walk along part of the Thames Path whilst enjoying the river traffic against the pretty backdrop of Lechlade (walking upstream from the lock).

The pleasant market town of Lechlade is within comfortable walking distance from the lock. If you decide to walk up to Lechlade, take note where the River Thames passes under Halfpenny Bridge (or Ha'penny Bridge), which is so named because it was once a toll bridge where pedestrians used to be charged for crossing (until 1839).

With its old toll house, Halfpenny Bridge marks the highest point on the Thames reached by powered boats. Whatever your preferred footwear, it will usually suffice for the immediate lock area. There are a few easy steps to negotiate, leading down from the bridge, which may be a bit slippery under wet conditions.

The Thames Path and fields beyond are not tarmaced, but for the most part, normal,

General Information

  • How to get there

    From Lechlade turn right on to A417 / St John's Street. After about 1 mile you will arrive at St John's Lock, on the right-hand side.

  • Parking

    There's limited parking on the A417, right by the lock entrance. Customers of the pub can use the pub's car park.

  • Further Information


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