1775: Lord Mayor's View
Frogg Mill Ait being very wide, Barges are for the most part drawn on shore, and sometimes their masts pull'd overboard; it would be much better if a channel could be made within;
Fred Thacker commented:
Barges evidently navigated along the Right bank, and were towed from the left, their lines sweeping the intervening island.
1794: Report of a survey of the river Thames between Reading and Isleworth ... John Rennie (the Elder)
From [Magpye Ait] to Hurley Lock there is a sufficient depth of Water; but at Frog Mill ayt, there is a very inconvenient towing path on the Berks side. If part of the Berks shore was cut away a little under; Medenham Ferry, and the channel between Frog Mill ayt and the Berks shore, was opened, this part of the navigation would be greatly improved, and the hauling much eased.
1825: Left bank channel cleared by Oliver.
[ This channel is now all but silted up entirely. The navigation is entirely by the Right bank. That these islands were so clear of trees that tow lines could sweep over them is hard to believe looking at the luxuriant growth on them now. ]
1881: George Leslie, "Our River" -
The punting ground above the lock to Medmenham is very bad, especially in the first part of the Reach, where it is soft and muddy and even when you get up to the queer bends and eyots, though the ground hardens up as the stream sharpens, there are so many odd corner stumps and deep holes about, that if the wind is against you, it is not at all an easy thing to get along nicely. I believe on the whole, for a punt, the best way through this little Thames Archipelago is to avoid taking the short cut, and to pass leisurely along by the barge-stream on the Berks shore. the ground here is all good. By keeping as near to the shore as the shallows will allow in approaching Medmenham, and not crossing over to the Abbey too soon, you may avoid the stream almost entirely.
[Today there is little or no water on that side!]
1901: The Thames Illustrated by John Leland -
Between Hurley and Medmenham, dense woods rise from the meadows that flank the river,
and some times shadow the stream.
[ It must be the right bank he means from Danesfield towards Medmenham ]
... the punting to Medmenham is indifferent, owing to the irregular and heavy character of the bed, and you thread the river archipelago.