Pass either side of Grass Eyot which is nearer the left (west bank). The usual route to Boulters Lock is the channel between it and the left bank
The strategically important site of Taplow with a cliff overlooking the Thames is likely to have been occupied since
earliest times. This is confirmed by archaeological finds of Mesolithic flint blades. Excavations in the grounds of
Taplow Court - have revealed the existence of hill forts from the Bronze and Iron Ages.
There have also been Roman pottery finds in the area.
The Thames provided a convenient and valuable fishing ground as well as a communication route. In 1086 the Domesday Book entry for Taplow shows a well-favoured place with a fishery (for 1,000 eels), woodland supporting 700 pigs, plough-land and meadow. Into the 20th century there was a fish weir next to Guards Club Island where eel bucks (wicker baskets) were strung across the river. Historical records reveal that valuable fishing rights were frequently contested in court.
The waters of the Thames were also harnessed to power mills. The earliest record of a mill at Taplow is in 1194. Other early references are to two mills in 1197 and to a fulling mill in 1281. By 1304 there were apparently three mills. It is thought that the earliest mill was on the site of the present Taplow Paper Mill, although, without maps, we cannot know its exact position. Taplow mills are shown on maps from 1637. It was common for mills to change their use over the years between grinding corn, fulling cloth and making paper. In 1803 a lease shows that one of the mills was being used as a cotton manufactory. The Taplow paper mill business was probably started by the Venables family in the late 18th century. The corn mill closed down in 1864 but paper making continued on the site until 2006.