We have paddle and rymer weirs at five sites on the River Thames.
We own and operate 45 sets of locks and weirs on the Thames – from its source in Gloucestershire through to Teddington in west London, where the river becomes tidal.
The weirs allow us a degree of control over the level and flow of water in the river. This supports:
Our five paddle and rymer weirs are located at:
How paddle and rymer weirs work
Paddle and rymer weirs consist of long posts (rymers) that fit into a slotted beam on the river bed. This creates a supporting framework for wooden blocks to be dropped between the posts and stacked up to form a barrier when needed. The blocks have handles attached to them, making them look like a crude form of paddle, hence the name.
Paddle and rymer weirs have been in use on the River Thames since the 13th century. Modern versions are made of concrete, brick, steel and fibreglass, as well as wood. But their operation would be recognisable to a 13th-century weir-keeper.
Concerns over paddle and rymer weirs
Paddles and rymers are heavy and awkward to manoeuvre, and could cause injury to our staff. We are reviewing the operation of these weirs to establish if we need to make any changes to reduce the risk of injury.
At Rushey, we have started work to replace the weir, as structural surveys showed it was in very poor condition and needed urgent attention. We are retaining a small, safe-to-operate paddle and rymer element as a heritage feature. This was agreed with English Heritage.
Goring Weir includes a small paddle and rymer section, which we replaced with a lightweight version on a trial basis. We intend to make this a permanent change. This will require listed building consent, as the weir is Grade 2 listed. We will apply for consent early in 2013.
We will not know if any work is needed on the paddle and rymer weirs at Northmoor, Iffley and Streatley until after a health and safety review is completed in spring 2013.
Keeping you informed
If you would like to sign up to our mailing list, please email us: