mapledurham Weir Guide

Small wave for the  beginner and intermediate Kayaker

Announcement: The wave has changed since the weir had a new gate to replace the old Paddle and Rymer weir.

mapledurham Weir Guide

Small wave for the  beginner and intermediate Kayaker

Announcement: The wave has changed since the weir had a new gate to replace the old Paddle and Rymer weir.


This weir only works if the Thames Valley is under serious flood conditions. The river will be a mile wide in places. People’s homes will be deluged. Hurley weir will be starting to wash out. The situation will be on the news. Cleverly, kayakers have actually correlated the tail level on the lock gauge to how good the wave will be working.

Feature Description

Mapledurham has one of the best beginner/intermediate freestyle waves on the Thames. It’s a doddle to paddle. The wave is quite small, not retentive enough to get stuck in, and the water comes in quite flat so it is reasonably hard to catch an edge. Straightforward surfing, flat spins, Low angle blunts, loops and cartwheel moves are the most common things people do. Apart from the main wave, there are a couple of other features that some may be interested in. There are a couple of boxed in holes which you can drag yourself into – and will probably let you out again without a fight.There is a nasty long pourover on the far river left – which I personally have always avoided.


Find the A329 that connects Pangbourne and Reading. Driving from Reading towards Pangbourne there is a small village callled Purley on Thames. Purley is on the right, down a little road called New Hill, and is sign posted from the A329. Turn right down New Hill, which is very steep, and then go over a railway bridge into a housing estate. When you reach the bottom of the hill, at the sharp right bend turn left and park on that road on the right hand side nearest the field. Walk down the public footpath/private road towards the river. Now starts the really fun part. Access the footpath and walk towards the river. Pretty soon you will come across a gate into a field. Except, if you are there at the right level, the field will look more like a lake. Walk or wade across the field towards the main part of the river. Take, care there is a deep ditch in the middle of the field which can be full of water upto groin height. When you get to the lock area put on to the river. Make sure to look at the tail reading on the gauge at the lock, and let TVF know what it is.

The Environment Agency were refurbishing this Thames Weir, to tackle weir safety issues, which provided an opportunity to quickly and cheaply create a new recreational feature with RapidBlocs.

What Rapidblocs did

Adding Unistrut in the re‐concreting of the radial control gate we were able to create an adaptable wave/hole canoe feature.

  • small scale project
  • obstacles
  • flow analysis
  • block setup

An experimental installation to demonstrate the ease of installing RapidBlocs during weir refurbishment; making a recreational feature from an otherwise single purpose structure.

Good feature, quick installation, Environment Agency approved scheme, reformed energy from the gate into useful deeper and with more concentrated energy dissipation than the previous fast sheeting flow that was of no interest to paddlesport.

Unfortunately after the testing and purchase of the required rapidblocs, they have sat in there cage on the weir ever since. This is due to no process being in place to actually install and use them. It was originally stated they cant stay in the weir and have to be installed and removed at every session, this is only really practical during lower water levels, which causes an issue with the water required to run the feature, this coupled with Mapledurham Mill having agreed water extraction dates leaves very little opportunity to use the feature…………..

Looking back at the weir over the years!

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