Friday, 8 March 2013

Saunders Boat Yard.

Along the river Thames between Moulsford and Goring is a place called Runsford Hole and when you see it on the map it looks like just another part of the river with a local name.

Viewed from across the river the bank seems very over grown with trees and bushes growing down the the river edge but how many of you realise this was the home of Saunders Boatyard which went on to become Saunders Roe on the Isle of White.

This is how you see Runsford hole today.

But over 100 years ago it looked like this a small thriving boatyard, the house you can see behind is still there today. It operated between 1882 and 1912 before being sold to Hobbs of Henley. Saunders used to build steam launches and one is still operating   today.

Her name is the Consuta and can be seen at Henley Regatta as an Umpires boat.

So what of the old boatyard, does any this survive well the answer is yes though. The place is now Witymead Nature Reserve I came across it one day while out searching for a couple of pillboxes and went and asked if I could look round.

If you remember looking at the old photo of the two boathouses then this is the slipway from one of them, the rails are where the boat trolley would have been winched in or out.
And this is the winch at the other end with the remains of the boat trolleys laying around.

 The boat winch which still looks like it will work 
Nearby you can see the remains of a building which looks like it was used to live in at one time
The outline of the other large boathouse is still evident.

Nearer the river is what looks like another smaller boathouse slowly decaying and sinking into the river mud.
I found this photo of the yard while searching for photos and it shows the yard at work . It's hard to believe  that looking at this picture 
and this one that they are the same place. 

The Nature reserve is a peaceful place to visit and is open all year round though you need to phone first before visiting, you can find it in the link nearer the begining of the blog. You can find it along the Bridleway between Goring and South Stoke.
 It's a place I shall be returning to.

This blue plaque can be seen on Goring Post office near were the sold boats in the village.


  1. What a great find. I am surprised the land hasn't been used for a plush riverside dwelling.

  2. No chance of that, it's on the flood plain and foods easy.

  3. nice pictures. this place looks really nice and amazing. great. keep sharing more like this.
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