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River Thames The River Thames flows through southern England. It is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn. While it is best known for flowing through London, the river also flows alongside other towns and cities, including Oxford, Reading, Henley-on-Thames, and Windsor. SummaryWith a total length of 215 miles (346 km), the Thames is the longest river entirely in England and the second longest in the United Kingdom. It rises at Thames Head in Gloucestershire, and flows into the North Sea via the Thames Estuary. On its way, it passes through London, the country's capital, where the river is deep and navigable to ships; the Thames drains the whole of Greater London. Its tidal section, reaching up to Teddington Lock, includes most of its London stretch and has a rise and fall of 7 metres (23 ft).Along its course are 45 navigation locks with accompanying weirs. Its catchment area covers a large part of South Eastern and a small part of Western England and the river is fed by 38 named tributaries. The river contains over 80 islands. With its waters varying from freshwater to almost seawater, the Thames supports a variety of wildlife and has a number of adjoining Sites of Special Scientific Interest, with the largest being in the remaining parts of the North Kent Marshes and covering 5,449 hectares (13,460 acres).The marks of human activity, in some cases dating back to Pre-Roman Britain, are visible at various points along the river. These include a variety of structures connected with use of the river, such as navigations, bridges, and watermills, as well as prehistoric burial mounds. A major maritime route is formed for much of its length for shipping and supplies: through the Port of London for international trade, internally along its length and by its connection to the British canal system. The river's position has put it at the center of many events in British history, leading to it being described by John Burns as "liquid history". IslandsThe River Thames contains over 80 islands ranging from the large estuarial marshlands of the Isle of Sheppey and Canvey Island to small tree-covered islets like Rose Isle in Oxfordshire and Headpile Eyot in Berkshire. They are found all the way from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to Fiddler's Island in Oxfordshire. Some of the largest inland islands, for example Formosa Island near Cookham and Andersey Island at Abingdon, were created naturally when the course of the river divided into separate streams.In the Oxford area the river splits into several streams across the floodplain (Seacourt Stream, Castle Mill Stream, Bulstake Stream and others), creating several islands (Fiddler's Island, Osney and others). Desborough Island, Ham Island at Old Windsor, and Penton Hook Island were artificially created by lock cuts and navigation channels. Chiswick Eyot is a familiar landmark on the Boat Race course, while Glover's Island forms the centrepiece of the spectacular view from Richmond Hill.Islands of historical interest include Magna Carta Island at Runnymede, Fry's Island at Reading, and Pharaoh's Island near Shepperton. In more recent times Platts Eyot at Hampton was the place where MTBs were built, Tagg's Island near Molesey was associated with the impresario Fred Karno, and Eel Pie Island at Twickenham was the birthplace of the South East's R&B music scene.Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster (commonly known today as the Houses of Parliament) were built on Thorney Island, which used to be an eyot. 1. A statue of Old Father Thames by Raffaelle Monti at St John's Lock, Lechlade.2. The marker stone at the official source of the River Thames near Kemble. 1. The River Thames Flood Barrier.2. The Thames passes by some of the sights of London, including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. 1. The Jubilee River at Slough Weir.2. St John's Lock, near Lechlade. 1. The River Thames in Oxford2. London Stone at Staines, built in 1285 marked the customs limit of the Thames and the City of London's jurisdiction.