Bondig Bank, a stretch of river bank lying on the west side of the Thames near Marlow, opposite the grounds of Bisham Abbey, is owned by the River Thames Society.
Named after the first known Saxon settler, it is marked at both ends by RTS signs and commemorative benches.
Originally, when Bondig Bank was managed by the monks at Bisham Abbey, this land was an osiery – a plantation of willows. The bushes between the river and the tow path would have been kept low, so that tow ropes were not hindered. Osieries were important because willow branches were used for baskets, fish traps, fences and hurdles.
Bondig Bank was given to the River Thames Society in 1992 by Mrs Margaret Dickinson,whose family owned Bisham Abbey. The Society manages it as a small nature reserve.
We are coppicing the willows to keep them compact.
Some of the cut branches have been bundled together to shelter hedgehogs, mice and other small animals.
The reeds on the river bank were planted to protect the bank from erosion. They have become a habitat for small birds like reed buntings and warblers.
A new path was installed during 2009 and the plan for the area on the land side of the path is to let the plants grow and die naturally. The nettles may not be attractive to us, but they are important for butterflies and they help to protect birds that nest in the hawthorn bushes.
There is a dead tree which is a haven for insects, which will attract more birds.
In October 2011, coppicing work was completed and at the same time, a new noticeboard was installed. Information on the noticeboard helps visitors to Bondig Bank understand the site and identify the flora and fauna they may see. It also provides information about the River Thames Society and its other conservation projects.
In 2019, Thames Path National Trails volunteers and RTS members planted a new hedge.
Branch Chairman's Update (April 2021)
Since we embarked on our " nature reserve" venture 3 years ago we have had two major floods and three acts of vandalism - rather dispiriting. . The flooded area has retreated and started to grow with the exception of a small area at the very lowest point. The hawthorn hedge has survived and has grown to a height of around 4 ft. It is not a hedge at present but is starting to grow sideways and hopefully is now strong enough to cope with future weather events.
The wildlife refuges have survived very well. The wild flower growth has started strongly and the nettles are slow to appear.
The lifesaving equipment is intact.
The path surface is in excellent shape.
The signage is in good shape.
The Simmonds seat is looking very sorry for itself. The replacement is ready to go and we are waiting for a slot in the Thames Path calendar to have it fitted. We have lost Andy Mauwer at Thames Path. A replacement has been appointed.
The Parton seat needs a good clean and rebleaching. It has suffered some past damage which has been repaired but now requires a patching up. We may be thinking of a new seat in the near future
Directions to Bondig Bank
Bondig Bank is located between Marlow and Temple Lock.
Use the public car park at Pound Lane, Marlow and after walking through the park, take the towpath heading west for about a mile, upstream across several small bridges over brooks until you reach the sign.