ON a bank of the Thames between South Stoke and Cleeve Lock is this most unusual construction, to which my picture does not really do justice.
Nicknamed the Sandmartin’s Apartment, it is a block of 72 nesting boxes and Withymead Nature Reserve was selling the leases with the benefit of warden control for £10 a year!
This used to be the site of Saunders Boatyard, where once more than 30 people worked.
The business was bought by Hobbs of Henley in 1906 when Samuel Saunders moved to the Isle of Wight to continue his business.
In the early 20th century it was rumoured that they were developing a jet-propelled boat that “floated” on an air cushion.
The slipway and launching track are still visible among the reeds and Loddon lilies.