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Ash Island
Molesey Lock
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Cigarette Island
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The Broken Boat
Raven's Ait
Swans and Ducks
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  Picture of lock keeper picture of flood level signsPicture of weir gates that control the river level  
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The float landed opposite Molesey Lock, at the grounds of some riding stables. Steve Bolam is on duty here most days, and he lives in the Lock Keeper's cottage near by. Charlie Dimmock did up his garden in an episode of the TV garden make-over show 'Ground Force' - have a look when you go there, they did a nice job. In my opinion Steve is one of the friendliest people on the river. I asked Steve to tell me about his work. Hampton is the major place where water is taken from the river for London's drinking water - you will hear how he makes sure the river here never goes dry, by carefully controlling the weir gates (pictured) that regulate how much water is allowed downstream.

He also talks about flooding - in 2000 the river rose to one of the highest levels in living memory. Planners try to prepare for flood levels that are predicted to happen just once in 100 years. The frequency of floods on the Thames has risen dramatically in the last few years and the '100 year flood' predictions are shifting ever higher. You can see some flood marks on the walk. Either flood defences will have to improve - at enormous cost - or people will have to live further away from the river in London (yet the opposite is happening). Some say floating houses or buildings on stilts might be the long-term answer.

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