Discover the Deepest River in England

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: September 30, 2023
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England has a deep connection to the bodies of water that surround and flow through the country. Although the U.K. as a whole is home to over 1,500 rivers, they are not very long or deep. In fact, the longest river in England is the River Thames, and it only flows for 215 miles. Today, we are going to examine the deepest river in England. We’ll show you how deep it is, where it is located, and what wildlife lives in and around the river.

What Is the Deepest River in England?

Scenic view of QEII bridge in the daylight

The River Thames is England’s deepest river.

©rsaraiva/ via Getty Images

The deepest river in England is the River Thames, and this river is 66 feet deep at its maximum depth. The River Thames is not 66 feet deep throughout its entire run, though. The majority of the body of water is only about 10 to 20 feet deep. The deepest part of the river is east of London in the estuary region where it reaches its mouth.

The river is quite shallow in some parts of its flow. For example, the river is only 5 feet deep below London Bridge. Still, like many other rivers in England, the River Thames is not particularly long or deep.  

Where Is the River Thames on a Map?

The deepest river in England rises from its headwaters at Thames Head in Gloucestershire. Alternatively, some researchers consider Ullenwood in Gloucestershire the source of the river. The river starts in the southwestern part of England, and it flows to the southeast, traveling 215 miles.  

The river passes through many noteworthy cities and towns, including Oxford, Reading, and London. Finding the river on a map is easy. The river flows through London, and it is also very wide as it passes through the city. So, it’s a simple matter of locating the most prominent city in the country and then tracing the river back to its source or to its mouth.   

Why Is the River Thames Significant to England?

Aerial view of Reading, a large town on the Thames and Kennet rivers in southern England, UK

Reading is one of the towns through which the River Thames runs.

©Alexey Fedorenko/

The River Thames has been important to England throughout the country’s history. The river is tidal, meaning its water is brackish rather than only freshwater or saltwater. Nevertheless, the water is extracted and treated before being used as drinking water for over half of London’s water.   

The river has been used in many other ways. For example, the river has been home to a wide assortment of fish. These fish have been a food source for people who live nearby for centuries. While it is not advisable for people to frequently eat fish from the river these days, it’s still possible.

The water from the Thames River has also been used for many businesses. The availability of river water in this area supported the industrial growth of cities along its banks. The downside was that many businesses and industrial complexes dumped pollutants into the river.

The pollution in this body of water became worse as sewage systems emptied directly into the river. By the 19th century, the river was highly polluted. By the 1960s, scientists said that large portions of the river were biologically dead.  

Yet, the country’s efforts in recent decades have transformed the deepest river in England. These days, the River Thames is one of the cleanest rivers that flows through a major city. Still, the river does have some problems with pollution. While the river water is safe enough for the city to use, residents should probably not go swimming in it.

What Animals Live in the River Thames?

European Eel, Anguilla anguilla. Taken River Culm, England.

European eels are a common sight in the river.

©ABS Natural History/

A whole host of different animals live in and around the deepest river in England. Some of the species of animals that thrive in this area include:

These are just a few of the animals that thrive near the river. Over 100 species of fish live in the water, and many other creatures use the river to survive.

How Does the Deepest River in England Compare to the Deepest in the United States?

Saint Lawrence River
The St. Lawrence River flows 1,900 miles from the farthest headwaters to the mouth, and 743.8 miles from the outflow of Lake Ontario.
River Thames66 feet
St. Lawrence River250 feet
Hudson River216 feet

The River Thames is 66 feet deep at its greatest depth. That is not a very deep river at all. This river is certainly not deeper than the deepest river in the United States. The deepest river that flows in a part of the U.S. is the St. Lawrence River, and it drops down to 250 feet.

However, the deepest river that only flows in the United States is the Hudson River. This body of water reaches a depth of 216 feet. The Mississippi River is another very deep body of water in the United States. The Mississippi River is 200 feet deep near Algier’s Point in New Orleans.  

All in all, the River Thames is a rather shallow and short river compared to many of the others in the world. Nevertheless, this body of water has served many important purposes throughout the country’s history.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © GizemG/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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