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Penton Hook Lock

Mention Penton Hook and most people will think of the marina - Penton Hook is Britain's largest inland marina, with 575 berths set within its 80-acre site.

Penton Hook Lock is the 'highest' lock to be built on the Thames by the Corporation of London.

Along with all the Thames locks, the Environment Agency manages the small Penton Hook Island, home to herons and water vole, among other animals. It even has its own fish spawning channel. There is a charming picnic area from where visitors can enjoy the countryside, river and its wildlife.

In the 1700s, there was no lock here. When the river flowed high and fast, the water rushed against the outside of the bend in the river and burst its banks. This caused many problems for boaters, barges and local residents.

Finally, in 1815, the Corporation of London built a pound lock here. It was an early timber pound lock, but it did its job and prevented further flooding and burst banks.

A lock rebuild in 1909 was followed by the installation of hydraulic operation in 1965 - this was when the heavy manual oak beams were removed.

A great range of birdlife congregates at Penton Hook, with its marina, wildlife island and surrounding countryside. There are kingfishers, grebes, geese and ducks, and sometimes large flocks of parakeets, continuing to spread along the region's waterways.

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