Desborough Island is a large artificially-created island in the River Thames, in Surrey on the reach above Sunbury Lock. The island was formed in 1930s by the digging of a channel - the Desborough Cut - by the Thames Conservancy, in order to allow boats to bypass a large meander in the river here. The Desborough Cut is south of the river, cutting through Surrey, so that the island is bounded by the straight cut on the south and the natural course of the river on the west, north and south. Across the natural course of the Thames, in Middlesex, lies Shepperton.
Both island and cut are named after William Grenfell, 1st Baron Desborough, who was at that time chairman of Thames Conservancy.
The ¾-mile cut took the river on a straight course between Weybridge and Walton on Thames creating the island between it and the meandering stretch past Shepperton and Lower Halliford which remains as a navigable route. The cut alleviated flooding in Shepperton and halved the distance of travel on that part of the river.
On the island
The island is almost uninhabited, being mainly open space, playing fields and water treatment facilities. The island has access over two bridges from Walton Lane in Walton-on-Thames. It covers 111 acres of which 35 acres is open space. It is a site of nature conservation importance and is looked after by the council's commons management team.
The island contains the Walton Water Treatment Works, owned by the North Surrey Water company. There are sporting facilities owned by the University of London's Vandals Rugby Club and Weybridge Rifle and Pistol Club. Other parts of the island are owned by the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council and Elmbridge Borough council. Pleasure boats operate from Walton, making a round trip round the island.
Efforts have been made to improve the environment of the island. Furthermore hedges have been relaid to improve the habitat.
- The Hundred of Spelthorne: Shepperton
- Shepperton Rotary Club
- "PMZ22, Desborough Island, Walton-on-Thames". Surrey County Council. http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/sccwebsite/sccwspublications.nsf/591f7dda55aad72a80256c670041a50d/ae9eaaf45262f3c180256f0b004e413c/$FILE/PMZ22%20Desborough%20Island,%20Walton-on-Thames.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-07.