Note that the chanel between the islands is very overgrown and only possible for canoes
1793: The Windings of the Thames below Culham Court -
The Windings of the Thames below Culham. June 1, 1793. J. Farington R.A. delt. J.C. Stadler sculpt. Published) by J. & J. Boydell, Shakespeare Gally. Pall Mall & (No. 90) Cheapside (London).
Magpie Island (Eyot)
1841: The towpath repaired thro' Magpie Eyot. I gues this must mean on the right bank
From Medmenham the river is rather dull until
you reach Magpie Eyot; the stream is not very strong,
and punting can be done with ease all
the way up the tow-path side.
I have frequently seen herons along this Reach, standing with their grey heads out of the long weeds, for all the world like old gampy umbrellas stuck in the ground. The gracefully curved heron which the landscape painters are so fond of introducing in the corners of their pictures, as far as my knowledge of these birds is concerned, is quite a conventional fiction.
Heron © John Eade 2006
I noticed this heron on a post about fifty yards ahead. I sat down and got my camera ready letting
the punt drift slowly towards him.
Just at the right moment a launch came along and made him take off towards me.
Of course, being an amateur, it didn't occur to me at the time that it would be the reflections of the feathers in the river which would make the photo - and it's all a bit blurred - but I like it! JCE
1881: George Leslie, "Our River" -
Magpie Eyot is just about the size of Robinson Crusoe's Island, at least so my little girl tells me, though as I never was at the latter place I cannot say for certain; it is not at any rate all one eyot, but as usual is divided by little streams into two or three. The backwater through the eel-bucks is extremely pretty; a boathouse belong to Culham Court is here, with a pretty little cottage and garden attached.
1887: The navigation down the
backwater was hindered by various obstructions.
The owner was requested to remove them.
1889: Magpie Eyot Bucks offered for sale at £500. The Conservancy offered £300 and this was not accepted.
1901: The Thames Illustrated by John Leland -
Above Medmenham, the river is less interesting until Magpie Island is reached, about a mile above the Abbey. There is an extremely pretty backwater, with the picturesque boathouse of Culham Court, and beautiful gardens and woods ...
1911: Eel Bucks at Magpie Island, Parker -
Eel Bucks at Magpie Island, Parker, 1911
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive;
1920: Fred Thacker:
Some formidable eel bucks are still erect, though somewhat dilapidated, behind the tail of this island: the object of much animadversion in comparatively recent years
1980s: I remember here
underwater obstructions in the LEFT bank channel.
Judging by Henry Taunt's photo these were the
remains of the bucks. The islands are very
overgrown to the point of there being almost no place to land.
At the island, if in a manually propelled small boat go the Left bank side. In a larger boat please keep to the wider deeper channel on the Right bank side of the island. This is special country.
If you venture in a very small boat between the islands, (you can - but its very narrow) - there can be considerable current from one side to the other!