Ruddles Pool is the 100° bend above Boveney Lock. Be careful because boats coming downstream are sorely tempted to cut the corner - particularly scullers - and there are many about here - who are not looking your way by definition! The pool can be very beautiful in still conditions with a panorama of reflections -
Ruddles Pool in 2017
This photograph was made up from three overlapping photos taken from the inside of the bend. ]
It was nearly dusk after a hard day's punting,
and the silence and still water with a fading blue
sky were very welcome. Occasionally a
sculler would come through shattering the reflections - and then slowly they
would form again.
What a place to cook your supper - I nearly burnt it - staring out over such loveliness.
But then the couple in the narrow boat next to me informed me that I would not mind if they started their generator so that they could watch Coronation Street.
I was so polite. (This is my only revenge!)
THE WILLOWS [ 1811 ] "Replete with Rural Elegance"
This delightful retirement is situated on the Berkshire banks of the Thames, between Bray and Windsor,
and owes its immediate beauty to the last possessor, the !ate Henry Townly Ward, Esq.
It has not indeed either extent or circumstance sufficient to rank it among those places, which are described as the boast of the river whose bosom reflects it: but so happily has taste exerted itself in improvement; such has been the consequent transformation from its original appearance, that it now offers a most pleasing object to the voyager of the river who gladly suspends the oar to regard it.
The spot of which it consists has now attained an enrichment, with which those who knew it in its former state are agreeably astonished, from the interesting and unexpected novelty of its improved appearance, while those who view it for the first time, are sufficiently gratified to anticipate a pleasure when they shall see it again.
It was originally a cold swamp covered with osiers, which, by a skilful and effectual drainage, has been converted into a verdant sloping lawn, replete with rural elegance.
The ornamental ground is connected by a subterraneous passage, with a small farm, called Bullock's Heath, which not only adds to its extent, but encreases its accommodations as a country residence.
Of literal description it will admit but little, but what it does admit the Engraving will more correctly display.
At the same time it may be safely observed, that a spot, where the Towers of Windsor Castle are seen to rise in such splendid magnificence, from their elevated brow; where the Turrets of Eton College are beheld amid its surrounding groves; and where the Thames flows immediately before it, must receive the grandeur of distant prospect, in addition to its own native and tranquil beauty.
There are, however, circumstances connected with this villa, which cannot be addressed to the eye, but must have reached the hearts of those who were admitted as visitors there. They were long felt, will be long remembered, and may be surely considered as a superior characteristic of it: we allude to the well-known and constant hospitalities which distinguished it.
The annual aquatic festival of the Eton Scholars, which their Majesties have sometimes been pleased to attend, not only received an enlivening display to its show, but a most elegant addition to their pleasure, from the reception which The Willows failed not to afford them on the occasion.
Some years have passed away since Mrs. Ward, whose mind and manners qualified her, in a peculiar manner, to enhance the pleasantness of the spot, has been regretted by her surviving friends; and all who knew her wished for that distinction: and within the last year Mr. Townly Ward's generous and friendly spirit has closed its earthly career.
It was bequeathed by him to his friend Patrick Crawford Bruce, Esq. of Taplow Lodge, who is the present  possessor of it.
Left bank site of Surley Hall
1868: A chain ferry at Surley Hall
1880: William Morris, Putney to Kelmscot -
Thursday August 12.
Started at 11.30 [from Windsor Bridge]. WM convalescent (note: cockle?)
Stopped at Surly Hall to take in water and soda water. (Note Cornell Price gave an entertainment gratis with an umbrella & shawl and a champagne bottle)
Proceeded safely as far as Bray Lock ...
1885: The Royal River -
Surley Hall, an inn much frequented by Eton boys, who come here for refreshment at that happy age in which it is possible to lunch off olives and toffee.
1885: Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames -
Surly Hall - a tavern well known to all oarsmen, and especially dear to every Etonian. It is on the Berks bank, about half a mile above Boveney Lock. The house has recently been renovated, and affords reasonably good accommodation. During the summer season the Eights of the Eton Boat Club pay periodical visits to Surly, on which occasions great havoc is wrought amongst the ducks and green peas. In a meadow opposite are laid out the tables for the feast at the annual celebration of the birthday of George III, the 4th of June, the great event ... in the Eton boy's year.
the well remembered inn here was closed by the Duchess of Sutherland and entirely removed in 1901
1901: John Leland, in The Thames Illustrated, has not caught up with Fred Thacker's news. Perhaps he is relying on Dickens's Dictionary? -
A very short distance beyond the [Boveney] lock in our upward journeying we come to Surly Hall - that riverside hostelry so dear to all Etonians, and the place to which the College boats make their pilgrimage on the great aquatic festivals of the College, occasions upon which great havoc, they say, is wrought among the ducks and peas. The tables are laid out upon a meadow, where the birthday of King George III., who was a prime favourite with the Eton boys, is kept right loyally.