Author Chris Cove-Smith while skippering
Salter Brothers' Hampton Court

A new edition of the River Thames Book, the definitive guide to the river, has just been published.

The sixth edition of Chris Cove-Smith's book is the latest version of the guide first published in 1996 and is a mine of up-to-date information about the river.

The Berkshire-based author describes it as a navigation guide to the river. But extra information for anglers and about the Thames Path is now included.

So too are recent changes like the launch of the River and Canal Trust responsible now for canals.

Packed with charts based on Ordnance Survey maps plus the author's own pictures from along the length of the river it contains details for boaters and also nearby facilities like pubs and boatyards.

Its 230 pages also include details of the eastern section of the Kennet and Avon canal, plus the River Wey and the Basingstoke Canal.

Speaking to River Thames News, Chris Cove-Smith said his affection for the river started as a boy when he took trips aboard Salter Brothers steamers.

Salters services continued during the last war after, it is said, Churchill approved a fuel allowance saying the pleasure trips were essential for the morale for war-weary Londoners.

Mr Cove-Smith said: "I said at the time I would skipper one of the boats one day".

Years later after a career in banking journalism and then as a lock-keeper, he gained his skipper's ticket and took the wheel of a Salter's passenger boat.

On the tideway he was a special constable with Thames Division of the Met Police.

As a leisure boater he has travelled the Thames from above Hannington Bridge in Oxfordshire to the Medway and around the London ring canals.

The book is the result of his detailed knowledge plus the continual updating of ever-changing information

He says: "I have to acknowledge the great support I get from organisations lkike the River Thames Society and the Environment Agency as well as individual boaters along the Thames.

"The river itself is unchanging but the scene around it has changed so much from the time, for example, when there were many more boat hire companies."

The River Thames Book is published by Imray at £9.99

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