Romney Lock

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Romney Lock from downstream
Romney Lock in winter looking upstream

Romney Lock is a lock on the River Thames in Berkshire, close to Eton in neighbouring Buckinghamshire. It is on the Windsor side of the river next to a boatyard and adjoins Romney Island, a long strip of land in the middle of the river. The first lock was built by the Thames Navigation Commission in 1798.

The weir is some distance upstream at the end of Romney Island and runs across the river to Cutlers Ait. A small 270hp hydro electric generation station was installed in 2011 to supply electricity to Windsor Castle.[1][2]


The first proposal for a pound lock was in 1774 which was to be further upstream at Firework Ait by Windsor Bridge. However nothing happened until the lock was opened on the present site in 1797, built of oak. There was no weir at the site previously and because of protests, none was built at that time. Barges were still liable to pay the lock fee even if they used the other channel. By the following year a weir was found to be indispensable, and so it was built. The lock was rebuilt by the Thames Conservancy in 1869 and the weir was rebuilt further upstream at the beginning of the 20th century.[3] The lock was rebuilt again in 1979/80.

Access to the lock

The lock can be reached from Windsor down a long single track road which starts behind Windsor and Eton Riverside railway station.

Reach above the lock

Eton College is on the opposite bank from the lock, beyond Cutler's Ait. Upstream of it is the town of Eton itself where Windsor Bridge crosses. On the Windsor side, the river skirts the town and after Windsor Bridge is the small island called Firework Ait and a little further on, Deadwater Ait is close to the bank. The opposite side of the river is an extent of open fields and after them, set back a bit, is the village of Eton Wick. Upstream of Windsor Bridge are Brunel's Windsor Railway Bridge which crosses Baths Island and the more modern road bridge Queen Elizabeth Bridge. Cuckoo Weir Stream is a backwater that runs under Queen Elizabeth Bridge, while on the other side at Clewer is the confluence of the Clewer Mill Stream. The main river then doubles back on itself very sharply at Windsor Racecourse before the run in to Boveney lock. The amount of rowing activity on the reach has been reduced by the recent creation of Dorney Lake near Dorney.

Thames Path

The Thames Path follows the track on the Windsor side to Windsor and then crosses Windsor Bridge to the Eton side, where it continues to Boveney Lock.


  1. Proposals for hydro power scheme
  2. The Queen demonstrates her power Daily Telegraph, 23 November 2013
  3. Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 - republished 1968 David & Charles