About Us & History


 

Construction of Dorney Lake began in 1996...

since then the venue has flourished into a top sporting and hospitality venue.

 

History

The idea to build a rowing course was first conceived in the early 1960s by Eton College teachers. With river laws much more relaxed than what they are today, and with the ever-increasing river traffic on the Thames, rowing training was becoming difficult and sometimes dangerous. 

Construction of the rowing course, or 'trench' as it was then known, began in 1996 with some 4,500,000 tonnes of sand and gravel excavated with some material extracted removed by a two mile long conveyer belt to minimise local disturbance. A bridge was built over the Thames to carry the conveyor belt underneath and link footpaths from Dorney to Maidenhead which still stands today.

Dorney Lake was completed in its entirety in 2006 with the main lake, return/warm-up channel, the Finish Tower, and Boathouse, but the first major event, The SuperSprint Regatta, was held in 2000. Attended by 10,000 people, the event was hailed as Sir Steve Redgrave's last race after the 2000 Sydney Olympics at which he won his fifth Gold Medal. 

Sporting Heritage

This year marks 10 years since Dorney Lake was the venue for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics flat water rowing and canoeing events. Named briefly as 'Eton Dorney' for the event, 550 athletes took to the water with over 30,000 spectators per day came to watch the racing via a temporary bridge over the River Thames which linked Dorney Lake to Windsor Racecourse.

More recently, in August 2022, Dorney Lake was chosen as the venue for the IVF Va’a Outrigger Sprint World Championships 2022, the first time ever that the event has been held in Europe!

Va’a racing is the national sport for most of the South Pacific island nations and was a first for Dorney Lake to host such a unique event. Alongside the Va'a racing, there was the celebration of the Pacific and UK cultures which form the foundation of the sport of va’a. Spectators and participants enjoyed workshops, food & drink, music, displays, arts & crafts and also a cultural evening showcasing each nation's cultural identity.

 


 

DISCOVER MORE OF WHAT WE DO...

Christmas at Dorney Lake

This Christmas, there is something for everyone to get into the Festive Spirit at Dorney Lake.

DISCOVER MORE

Dorney Boat Club

Open to all abilities, learn to row in a fun & inclusive environment. 

FIND OUT MORE