Rising in the cellar of a Northamptonshire farmhouse, the River Cherwell flows 30 miles south through rural Oxfordshire before it reaches the Thames in Oxford.
For its final stretch the river, often overhung with trees, skirts the city centre meandering through the ancient water meadows and parkland, within sight of several of the university’s grandest colleges.
Motor boats are forbidden, ensuring almost total tranquillity, and in fine weather the river throngs with punts and skiffs, as well as ducks, swans and geese.
The river joins the Thames, known in Oxford as the Isis, just below Folly Bridge, for centuries one of the few crossing places on the river.
Just downstream are the college boathouses and the stretch of the river used for the spring and summer rowing races between the college crews.
It was from nearby that the Rev. Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, set out on a boating trip with the young Alice Liddell in 1862, and first told the stories that were to be immortalised as Alice in Wonderland.