Eton Dorney is an artificial rowing lake which was built and is privately owned by the exclusive Eton College. The private educational institute spent £17million developing the rowing lake, starting construction in 1996 and finishing in 2006.
The 2,200-metre, eight-lane course with a separate return lane was originally meant only for Eton pupils, but it was built to such a high standard that the World Rowing Championships were held there in 2006, the venue being lauded by competitors and spectators alike.
Regarded as one of the best rowing venues in the world Eton Dorney Rowing Centre also regularly stages dragon-boating, triathlon, running, open-water swimming and water-skiing events. During London 2012, however, it will strictly be rowing and canoe events.
In preparation for the Games, the roadway has been improved and two bridges have been built on the island between the main and return lakes. The first new bridge crosses a new cut-through lane, while the second is a wider replacement for the previous finish line bridge.
An additional access channel has been built at the 1,400m mark to allow boats to pass from the main competition course to the return lane, whereas before this the only cut-through lane was positioned at the 600m mark.
Dorney Lake is set in a 400-acre nature conservation area, situated around 25 miles west of London, and has hosted both community events and elite-level competitions such as the Rowing World Cup, the World Rowing Championships and the Junior World Rowing Championships.
As the facility is located in such beautiful surroundings and having been created to such exacting standards it has become a huge asset to Eton as well as to local and national rowing fraternities.
Dorney Lake will host rowing and canoe sprint events during the London 2012 summer Olympics and Paralympics and is sure to host numerous elite level competitions for generations to come.
Capacity: 30,000 temporary seats
Public facilities: The Eton Dorney Rowing Centre is set in a 450-acre park, which includes a nature conservation area. It has its own kitchens, a bar and three conference rooms.
History: Close to the historic town of Windsor and privately owned by Eton College, the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre was initially conceived by the school’s rowing instructors in the 1960s. After decades of planning, construction commenced in 1996 and was fully completed in 2006, with additional improvements made in 2010. The venue hosted the 2005 Rowing World Cup, the 2006 World Rowing Championships and the 2011 Junior World Rowing Championships.
What’s on?: Rowing (July 28-August 4), canoe sprint (August 6-11).
How do you get there?: A journey by road or rail is the only real option. If you are travelling by road, Dorney is about 25 miles west of London, near Windsor, and can be accessed via Junction 7 off the M4, although you will have to use a park-and-ride service to the venue, as there is no public parking there.
As for rail travel, Dorney is close to two National Rail stations — Slough on the Paddington line and Windsor & Eton Riverside from Waterloo. Shuttle buses will run from both stations, as they are 15 minutes' drive from Dorney Lake.
Find it on a map: here.
Location – in relation to other venues: The venue is 25 miles to the west of London, close to Maidenhead and Windsor. It is approximately 30 miles from the Olympic Park facility in East London.