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Bristol Channel, Sailing Directions and Charts

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign

Waypoint

N/A

Charts

Tidal: NP 258 Navigation: Admiralty, 1179, 1178 Medium Scale 1478, 1076, 1165, 1152, 1176, 1166, 1164, 1156, 1149, SC5608

Rules & Regulations

TSS Schemes: Lands End and The Smalls. Reporting System for Ships approaching Avonmouth, (see Portishead Marina coverage)

Hazards

Fierce Tides, Shallow Banks, Many Harbours Unapproachable in Strong Onshore Conditions, Tidal Range Approaching 14m !

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Avonmouth = Dover-0415 MHWS 13.2m, MHWN 10.0m, MLWN 3.5m, MLWS 0.9m

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General Description

Use the "Navigation Chart" link to access Area Charts PLUS the NP series Tidal Stream Atlases

Approach

This sector describes the W coasts of England and Wales from Lands End to R.Avon and includes Bristol Channel. The descriptive sequence is NE along the coast of Cornwall, NE along the S shore of Bristol Channel, E along the N shore of Bristol Channel, and NE at the head of Bristol Channel and the River Severn.

General Remarks

Caution....Submarines frequently exercise in the Irish Sea and the approaches to Bristol Channel.

Vessels operating in connection with oil and gas exploitation,including seismic survey and drilling rigs, may be encountered within the waters described in this sector.

Numerous fishing vessels may be encountered within the waters described in this sector.

Lighted buoys associated with radar training may be encountered in the approaches to Bristol Channel.

Numerous wrecks lie within the waters described in this sector and may best be seen on the chart.


 

England-Lands End to Hartland Point

Lands End (50°04'N., 5°43'W.), the W extremity of England, may be identified in clear weather from a distance of 25 miles. When first viewed from the SW or S, the land in the vicinity of this point has the appearance of two detached hummocks. From seaward, the most conspicuous objects are the steeple tower of St. Sennen church and the steeple tower of St. Burian church standing 1 mile E and 3.5 miles E, respectively, of the point. The seaward extremity of Lands End, known as the Peal, is fronted by Peal Rocks which are awash at LW.


A Coastguard station is situated at Lands End (50°04'N., 5°43'W.); an all-weather lifeboat station is situated at Sennen Cove (50°05'N., 5°43'W.).


Caution.-A Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), which is IMO-adopted, has been established off Lands End and may best be seen on the chart.

For a full description of Wolf Rock, Seven Stones, the Isles of Scilly, and the S approach to the TSS, English Channel, Area Coverage

Longships (50°04'N., 5°44'W.) consists of a group of detached rocks, 7 to 13m high, which lies centered 1 mile W of the extremity of Lands End. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 36m high with a helicopter platform at the top, standing on the W and highest rock.

Numerous drying rocks lie within about 0.5 mile N and NE of Longships. Carn Base, a rocky bank, lies about 2 miles SSW of Longships and has a least depth of 9.9m. During W gales, heavy seas break over this bank. A narrow channel, with a least depth of 13.7m, leads between the dangers lying close E of Longships and Lands End, but it is not recommended.

Gamper Bay lies between Lands End and Pednmen-du, 0.5 mile NNE. It is backed by prominent cliffs, up to 60m high.  Whitesand Bay is entered close N of Pednmen-du and is backed by cliffs, 15 to 61m in high. Sennen Cove, lying in the S part of this bay, is protected by a stone breakwater, 200m long, which dries at its outer end. Several rocks, awash at HWS, lie close N of Pednmen-du. Knills Monument, an obelisk, stands on a hill 1.5 miles S of the head and is conspicuous.  A number of conspicuous hotels stand 0.5 mile S of the head, but are not visible until the peninsula has been rounded.

St. Ives Bay lies between the head and Godrevy Point, 3.2 miles NE. Depths of 16 to 22m lie in the entrance and decrease gradually towards the head of the bay. The small tidal harbour of St. Ives lies on the W side of the bay and the entrance to the Hayle Estuary lies at the head. These two small tidal harbours are no longer used by commercial vessels. They are now principally used by fishing boats and pleasure craft with local knowledge.

Godrevy Island (50°14'N., 5°24'W.) is located close NW of Godrevy Point. A small detached islet lies close off its W side and its SE shore is fringed by detached rocks, some of which dry up to 3m. The Shore Lanner, a rocky ledge, extends about 100m seaward from its SW shore and is awash at LW.  A light is shown from a prominent tower, 26m high, standing on the island.

The Stones, a group of dangerous drying rocks, lies between 0.5 and 1 mile NW of Godrevy Island and is marked at the outer side by a lighted buoy. The Sound, a narrow passage, leads between The Stones and Godrevy Island. It has general depths of 8 to 14m and should only be used by small craft with local knowledge.

Portreath (50°16'N., 5°18'W.), a small tidal harbour, lies 4.5 miles ENE of Godrevy Island. It is closed to commercial vessels and is reported to be mostly silted up. Carn Brea Monument stands on the summit of a hill which rises 3 miles SE of Portreath, and is conspicuous from seaward.  A prominent television mast stands 1 mile SE of this monument.

The coast between Portreath and St. Agnes Head, 4 miles NE, is composed of cliffs, 46 to 61m high. A prominent white chimney, 12m high, stands on top of a cliff 1.7 miles NE of Portreath.

St. Agnes Head (50°19'N., 5°14'W.) is formed by a bold promontory, 91m high. It is backed by St. Agnes Hill which is 189m high and surmounted by a beacon. Several prominent buildings and chimneys are situated on the NE slope of this hill. Cligga Head is located 2.5 miles NE of St. Agnes Head.

Penhale Point, located 3 miles NNE of Cligga Head, is surmounted by several prominent mine buildings.  Ligger Bay lies between these two points and is used by small craft.  A dangerous wreck is reported to lie close W of Penhale Point.

Caution.-Vessels are cautioned against anchoring and fishing within 3 miles of the shore of Ligger Bay due to the existence of disused scientific instruments and cables.

Towan Head (50°25'N., 5°06'W.), 30m high, is located 3.2 miles NE of Penhale Point and is formed by the seaward extremity of a peninsula, 1 mile long, which protects the small harbour of Newquay from SW gales. This point is fronted by foul ground and an uneven bank, with a least depth of 7.6m, lies about 1 mile NW of it.

The Atlantic Hotel stands on high ground 0.5 mile SE of Towan Head and is conspicuous. A prominent war memorial, in the form of a cross, stands close W of this hotel. Medusa Rock, with a least depth of 17.7m, lies about 3.2 miles W of Towan Head.

Newquay (50°25'N., 5°05'W.), a small tidal harbour, lies 0.5 miles E of Towan Head and is protected by two breakwaters.  It is only used by fishing boats and pleasure craft. Good anchorage can be taken off the harbour, during offshore winds or in good and settled weather, in a depth of 9m, about 0.6 mile E of Towan Head.

Park Head, located 4.5 miles N of Newquay, is fronted by rocks and foul ground which extend up to 0.5 mile SW of it. Several prominent radio masts and the conspicuous tower of a church stand 2 miles SE of this point.

Trevose Head (50°33'N., 5°02'W.), 71m high, is located 3 miles N of Park Head. When first seen, this headland has the appearance of a round island as the land within it is considerably lower. A light is shown from a very conspicuous white tower, 27m high, standing on the NW part of the headland.

Several prominent cottages and buildings are situated on the neck of the headland, but are not visible when abreast of the point. Quies Rocks, consisting of four principal above-water rocks, and The Bull, an above-water rock, lie about 1 mile W and 0.1 mile W, respectively, of the headland.  A passage, with a fairway about 0.5 mile wide, leads between Quies Rocks and The Bull, but should not be used except in cases of necessity. Diver Rock, with a least depth of 14.6m, lies about 3 miles W of Trevose Head.

Stepper Point (50°34'N., 4°57'W.), located 3.5 miles ENE of Trevose Head, is moderately high and bold. A light is shown from the E side of the point and a conspicuous stone tower, 12m high, stands on the W side and acts as a daymark. A flagstaff and several conspicuous buildings stand 0.5 mile S of the point. A dangerous wreck and an isolated depth of 7.2m, lie about 0.6 mile W and 0.7 mile NNW, respectively, of the light.
 
Gulland Rock (50°34'N., 5°00'W.), 28m high, lies 2 miles W of Stepper Point and consists of two bold and rocky islets which are almost joined together. Detached rocky patches with least depths of 5.7m, 2.3m, and 2m lie close E, 1 mile SE, and 0.5 mile S, respectively, of Gulland Rock.

Inner Gulland Shoal, a rocky ridge, lies about 1 mile W of Gulland Rock and has a least depth of 10.9m. Outer Gulland Shoal, the NW and outer danger, lies about 1.5 miles NNW of Gulland Rock and has a least depth of 11.3m.

Padstow (50°33'N., 4°56'W.) a small harbour, lies 1.5 miles within the estuary of the River Camel which is entered between Stepper Point and Pentire Point, 1.3 miles NNE.

See full coverage of Padstow Harbour

Rumps Point (50°36'N., 4°55'W.), fringed by rocks, is located 0.6 mile NE of Pentire Point. The coast between is formed by prominent bold and dark cliffs backed by grassy slopes. A detached rock, with a least depth of 0.8m, lies about 0.3 mile WNW of this point.

Newland, a bold and pyramidal islet, lies 1 mile W of Rumps Point. This islet is 37m high and several drying rocks lie close E and W of it. Mouls, a pyramidal rock, lies 0.3 mile ENE of Rumps Point and is 47m high. Portquin Bay, entered close E of Rumps Point, is bordered by steep and nearly inaccessible rocky cliffs which have no distinguishing features. Portquin, a small and narrow inlet, indents the NE side of this bay and a village stands on its S side.  Small vessels can obtain anchorage within the W part of the bay in good holding ground.

Port Isaac (50°35'N., 4°50'W.), a small drying harbour, lies at the head of a creek entered 3.5 miles E of Rump Point. It is protected by two breakwaters and is used by fishing boats. A conspicuous square church tower stands on the high ground 1.2 miles S of the harbour.

Port Gavorne, a narrow drying creek, lies 0.5 mile E of Port Isaac and is only used by small craft at HW. Several houses stand at the head of this creek and become prominent when the entrance opens. Tintagell Head (50°40'N., 4°46'W.), a bluff and prominent headland, is located 7.5 miles NE of Rumps Point. It is 79m high and backed by several rounded ridges which are higher than any portion of the neighboring coast.  A conspicuous hotel stands on the high ground 0.2 mile E of the head and a conspicuous church, with a short tower, stands close within the cliffs 0.3 mile S of it.

Gull Rock, 41m high, lies about 0.3 mile offshore, 1.5 miles SSW of Tintagell Head.

Boscastle (50°41'N., 4°42'W.), a small fishing boat harbour, lies at the head of a narrow creek which dries. The creek is entered 2.7 miles NE of Tintagell Head between Willapark Point and Penally Point, 0.2 mile NE. Meachard Rock lies 0.2 mile NW of the entrance and is 37m high. A low tower and a white house are situated on Willapark Point and a flagstaff stands on Penally Point.

Bude Haven (50°50'N., 4°34'W.), a small harbour used by fishing boats and pleasure craft, lies 10 miles NE of Boscastle.  The coast between is bold and indented by cliffs which vary in height between 37 and 213m.

Higher Sharpnose Point (50°54'N., 4°34'W.), located 4.5 miles N of Bude, is a prominent point which is fronted by a ledge. A group of conspicuous dish-shaped radar aerials stands near the coast 1.2 miles S of this point.

Hartland Point (51°01'N., 4°31'W.), located 7.2 miles N of Higher Sharpnose Point, is formed by the extremity of a dark brown tableland, 107m high, which slopes steeply to the sea;the adjoining cliffs are perpendicular. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 18m high, standing close below the summit of the point. Several prominent white buildings and walls are situated close to the tower. A radio direction finding station is situated at the light.

A water catchment, surrounded by a white-washed wall, is situated on the N slope of the point and forms a conspicuous mark from the N. Another prominent white-washed wall marks the road which leads from the light tower towards the catchment.The point is fronted by drying rocks and a dangerous wreck lies about 1 mile NW of it. Depths of 9 to 12m lie within 1.3 miles of the point and it should be given a wide berth.

The tidal currents along the coast between Cape Cornwall and Hartland Point follow the general direction of the coast.


Caution...An outfall pipeline extends up to 0.5 mile seaward in the vicinity of Bude Haven.

Submarine cables, which may best be seen on the chart, extend seaward from a point on the shore 2.5 miles S of Bude Haven.

Numerous wrecks and isolated depths of less than 18m lie up to 5 miles offshore between Higher Sharpnose Point and Hartland Point.

During the strength of the tidal current, a race may extend up to 2 miles NW of Hartland Point.


Lundy

Lundy (51°10'N., 4°40'W.), an island, 140m high, lies with its S extremity located 10 miles NW of Hartland Point and serves as an invaluable landmark for all vessels bound up Bristol Channel. It consists mostly of granite and is encircled by nearly inaccessible cliffs. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 16m high, standing on a small peninsula at the SE end of the island.  Another light is shown from a prominent tower, 17m high, standing at the N extremity of the island.

A prominent disused light tower, 30m high, stands on the highest part of the island, 0.5 mile N of the SW extremity.  A prominent wind motor stands close E of this disused tower. The conspicuous keep of Morisco Castle stands on the summit of the SE part of the island. A church, with a prominent tower, is situated 0.2 mile NW of the castle and is the best landmark in this vicinity when approaching from the S or E.

Numerous small rocks, some of which dry, front the shores of the island and lie up to about 0.2 mile seaward. A dangerous wreck lies about 1.5 miles NNE of the light at the SE end of the island.

Rat Island, a green hummock, lies close off the SE end of the island and is joined to it by a rocky ledge which dries. Hen and Chickens Rocks, consisting of a group of rocks, dries from 1.5 to 3m and extends up to about 0.3 mile W of the N extremity of Lundy.  This group should be given a wide berth.

East Bank lies centered 1 mile NE of the SE extremity of Lundy. It is composed of sand and fine broken shells and has a least depth of 9.4m.

North West Bank (51°12'N., 4°44'W.) lies between 1 and 2 miles W of the N extremity of Lundy. It has a least depth of 12.8m and is connected to the N part of the island by a sunken ridge with depths of 22 to 33m. There are overfalls on this bank.

Stanley Bank (51°13'N., 4°37'W.), with a least depth of 8.2m, lies centered 2.7 miles NE of the N extremity of the island.  Heavy tide rips, at times resembling breakers, indicate the position of this bank during the strength of the current.


Tides...Currents...The tidal current setting ENE divides at a position about 3.5 miles SW of the island and increases its velocity to about 5 knots at springs off the N extremity. During the strength of the current, a heavy race extends up to about 1 mile N of the N extremity of the island and a very heavy race, known as The White Horses, forms over Stanley Bank. A heavy race also forms off the S end of the island and extends up to about 1.5 miles E of the SE extremity. Similar races form when the tidal current sets WSW, but the race over Stanley Bank is less violent and the race off the S end of the island extends up to about 1 mile SW of the SW extremity.

The rates of the tidal currents to the N and S of the island decrease to normal rates for that locality about 3 miles from the island.

Caution-A marine nature reserve area, the limits of which are shown on the chart, has been established within the waters surrounding the island in order to protect its marine habitats and marine life. The island itself is a designated bird sanctuary.

A measured distance (2,146.6m), indicated by beacons, lies off the SE side of the island and may best be seen on the chart.


England-Bristol Channel-Hartland Point to Foreland Point


Bristol Channel is entered between Hartland Point, previously described, on the S side, and Saint Govan’s Head, on the N side, 37 miles NNW. 

Clovelly (51°00'N., 4°24'W.), a small harbour, is formed by a short pier which curves to the E. The harbour is used by small fishing boats and provides little shelter. The roadstead provides good anchorage in S and SW winds. The best anchorage is in a depth of 10m, mud, about 0.8 mile N of the pier.  A picturesque and prominent village backs the harbour and is built on a thickly wooded slope. Clovelly Court, a large and conspicuous mansion, stands 0.5 mile NW of this village.

The Gore, a shallow and rocky ridge, extends up to 0.7 mile NNW from a point on the shore 1.5 miles E of Clovelly.

Bideford Bar (51°05'N., 4°15'W.), located 11 miles ENE of Hartland Point, lies off the common mouth of the River Taw and the River Torridge, which discharge into Barnstaple Bay. Northam Burrows and Braunton Burrows are a succession of low sandhills, fronted by extensive drying sands, which lie on the S and N sides, respectively, of the river mouth. The port of Bideford consists of the lower reach of the River Torridge which leads S and is bordered by the towns of Appledore and Bideford, on its W bank, and the town of Instow, on its E bank. Barnstaple stands on the River Taw, 6 miles E of the mouth, but is no longer used by commercial vessels.

Tides-Currents.-Tides at Appledore rise about 7m at springs and 5m at neaps. Tides at Barnstaple rise about 4m at springs and 1.4m at neaps. Tides at Bideford rise about 6m at springs and 3.6m at neaps.

The currents run with considerable strength over the bar and into the River Taw and the River Torridge, but off the bar, they are rotatory in character and feeble in strength, rarely exceeding a rate of 1 knot. Within the mouth of the river, it is reported that the tidal current to the N of Appledore can attain a rate of up to 5 knots at springs. The outgoing current from the rivers, when opposed by strong W winds, causes a high sea on the bar.

Depths-Limitations.-A buoyed channel crosses the bar which is composed of sand and gravel. It leads between the drying sand banks on either side of the mouth and has a least depth of 0.6m. Within the mouth, there are numerous facilities for fishing boats and pleasure craft.

A prominent road bridge spans the river near Bideford and has a vertical clearance of 24m.


Aspect...The entrance to the channel is marked by an outer lighted buoy, moored about 2 miles offshore. The entrance fairway is indicated by a lighted range which may best be seen on the chart Pilotage.


Caution...The channel over the bar is subject to constant changes and local knowledge is required. A ground swell sometimes causes steep and confused seas on the bar.


Baggy Point (51°09'N., 4°16'W.), a bold and barren bluff, is located 3.7 miles N of Bideford Bar.  Baggy Leap, a rocky shoal, lies with its outer end located 0.8 mile WNW of the point and is marked by a buoy. Asp Rock, with a least depth of 3m, lies about 1.2 miles S of the point. Two prominent radio masts stand 2.8 miles SE of Baggy Point.

Morte Point (51°11'N., 4°14'W.), located 3 miles NNE of Baggy Point, is rocky and barren, sloping from its summit in low cliffs. Morte Stone, which dries 7.3m, lies near the center of a rocky ledge which extends up to about 0.4 mile W of the point. It is marked by a buoy and is only covered for a short time at HWS.Due to the shoals and obstructions lying in this vicinity, vessels are advised to stay in depths of at least 37m when rounding this point.

Bull Point (51°12'N., 4°12'W.), a prominent rocky point, is located 1.3 miles NE of Morte Point. A light is shown from a prominent structure, 11m high, standing on this point. A wreck, with a swept depth of 10.4m, and Rockham Shoal, with depths of less than 1.8m, lie about 0.5 mile W and 0.9 mile WSW, respectively, of the point.

Horseshoe Rocks (51°15'N., 4°13'W.), with a least depth of 8.8m, lies about 2.7 miles N of Bull Point and is marked by a lighted buoy, moored on its N side.

From Bull Point, the coast trends nearly straight for 3.2 miles to Ilfracombe. It is bounded by high and steep slopes which are intersected at Lee Bay, 1.1 miles E of Bull Point, by a deep and well-wooded valley. The shore is fringed with foul ground. A prominent wind motor, 16m in high, stands on a hill 2 miles E of Bull Point.

Ilfracombe (51°13'N., 4°07'W.), a small drying harbour, is protected by a breakwater and used by fishing vessels and pleasure craft. It is not visible from seaward and lies on the S side of Lantern Hill. The town, which is a resort, backs the harbour and has numerous prominent white buildings. Anchorage off this harbour is reported to be inadvisable even in the summer, due to the strength of the tidal currents and the poor holding ground.

Combe Martin Bay (51°13'N., 4°03'W.) is entered 2.5 miles E of Ilfracombe and provides shelter. Vessels can find temporary anchorage within this bay, during good weather, in a depth of 14m.

Little Hangman, a well-defined conical hill, stands near the E entrance point of the bay. It is 214m high and conspicuous from seaward. The village of Combe Martin is situated at the mouth of the River Umber, which flows into the SE corner of the bay. Only the NW part of the village and a church are visible from the bay.

Great Hangman, a high cliff of deep red color, stands 0.9 mile E of Little Hangman.  It is backed closely by a hill which is 314m high and separated by a deep gorge from another hill, 345m high, standing 1 mile E.

Copperas Rock (51°14'N., 4°01'W.), with a least depth of 1.4m, lies 0.5 mile
N of Great Hangman. This rock is marked by a buoy and the sea breaks heavily on it during strong winds.

Many small harbours have not been covered in this area, the following links from www.ports.org.uk give a good snapshot of each, and normally contact details for the Harbourmaster:
 
 
 


England-Bristol Channel-Foreland Point to Sand Bay

Foreland Point (51°15'N., 3°47'W.), located 9.5 miles E of Combe Martin Bay, is the most prominent point on the S side of Bristol Channel. It is fronted by rocks and rises abruptly, about 0.2 mile inland, to a hill which is 215m high and divided from the higher ground to the S by a conspicuous hollow or saddle. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 15m high, standing on the point. A radiobeacon is situated at the light.

Foreland Ledge, an area of rocky ground, is centered 0.8 mile N of Foreland Point. It lies parallel with the coast and has a least depth of 6.9m. In bad weather, dangerous overfalls may be encountered in the vicinity of this shoal. Sand Ridge, a dangerous and shallow shoal, lies between 0.5 mile and 1.5 miles W of Foreland Point and is composed of gravel. It has a least depth of 1.8m and is marked by a buoy, moored at the W end.  Several wrecks lie within 4 miles of Foreland Point and may best be seen on the chart.

Tides...Currents...At a position about 1.2 miles N of Foreland Point, the tidal currents follow the direction of the trend of the coast and attain a maximum rate of 5 knots at springs. Farther offshore, in the fairway of Bristol Channel, both tidal currents set up and down the channel and attain a maximum rate of 4.5 knots at springs. Close outside Sand Ridge, the tidal currents set E and W at rates of 4 to 5 knots.

Lynmouth (51°14'N., 3°50'W.), a picturesque resort village, is situated at the mouth of the Lyn River, 1.7 miles SW of Foreland Point. A shelf of boulders, which dries, fronts the mouth and a narrow channel, which has been scoured by the river, leads through it to a small craft harbour, enclosed by two stone jetties. Anchorage can be taken, during offshore winds, in the roadstead off the river mouth and S of Sand Ridge.

Gore Point (51°13'N., 3°38'W.), located 6 miles E of Foreland Point, is low, shingly, and fronted by boulders. The coast between consists of a range of hills which rises to a height of over 350m and is partly wooded.

Porlock Bay, entered E of Gore Point, provides anchorage, in depths of 7 to 9m, partly out of the strength of the tidal currents. A valley extends inland for 3 miles from the S shore of the bay to Dunkery Hill which is 515m high. This hill is surmounted by a prominent beacon and is the highest peak visible from seaward along the S shore of Bristol Channel. Porlock Weir, a small village, stands on the W side of Porlock Bay. It is fronted by a basin, with dock gates, which is used by small craft.

Minehead (51°12'N., 3°28'W.), a small drying harbour, lies 4.7 miles ESE of Porlock Bay and is used by pleasure craft. It is protected by a breakwater, curving E, over which the sea breaks at HW during gales. Tides here rise about 10.6m at springs and 8m at neaps.  Local knowledge is required for entry and the harbour may be contacted by VHF.

The ruins of a promenade pier extend up to about 180m N from a point on the shore close W of the harbour. The Gables, a shingle reef, lies about 0.7 mile ENE of the harbour and dries up to 3.3m. Outfall pipelines extend up to 0.4 mile seaward in the vicinity of Minehead and may best be seen on the chart. Conygar Tower, a conspicuous landmark, stands on a wooded hill 2 miles SE of Minehead.

Blue Anchor Head is located 4 miles ESE of Minehead. The coast between is low, flat, and recedes to form a bay which is fronted by a drying and rocky foreshore extending up to about 0.5 mile seaward.  Good anchorage may be taken within Blue Anchor Roadstead, in depths of 5 to 7m, sticky blue clay, about 1.5 miles N of the point.

Watchet (51°11'N., 3°20'W.), lies 5.7 miles ESE of Minehead and is protected by two breakwaters, see coverage:

Watchet Harbour (and Marina)   

Stoke Bluff (51°12'N., 3°12'W.), a prominent point, is located 5 miles E of Watchet. The coast between consists of cliffs of variegated color. A church, with a prominent square tower, stands 2 miles E of Watchet. It is situated on the slope of a hill at the village of West Quantoxhead, 0.8 mile inland. Two prominent radio masts stand on a hill 1.5 miles SW of Watchet.
 
Stoke Spit, which consists of stones and terminates to seaward in drying sand, extends up to about l.3 miles NW from Stoke Bluff. Kilve Patch, with a least depth of 3.7m, lies about 0.7 mile NW of the outer end of Stoke Spit.

Culver Sand (51°17'N., 3°15'W.), centered 5.5 miles NNW of Stoke Bluff, lies nearly parallel to the coast and is marked at its E and W extremities by lighted buoys. This bank is steep-to on its S side and is awash in places.

Caution...Several floating targets and lighted buoys, which are used in connection with air-firing exercises, are moored in the vicinity of Stoke Spit. Several disused cables lie in the waters N of Culver Sand.

Bridgwater Bay (51°15'N., 3°10'W.) is entered between Stoke Bluff and Brean Down, 10 miles NE. The latter point is formed by a conspicuous bold projection, 98m high. This large bay, for the most part, is encumbered by drying mud flats which extend up to about 5 miles from the shore.

Burnham-on-Sea, a resort town, is situated at the head of the bay. It stands close N of the entrance to the River Parrett which leads to the port of Bridgwater, 6 miles S. A church tower, surmounted by a turret, stands in this town and is very prominent and easily distinguishable from seaward.

Hinkley Nuclear Power Station stands on the S shore of the bay, 2.5 miles E of Stoke Bluff. The chimneys, 60m high, and main buildings of the station are very conspicuous from seaward.

See full coverage of ...

Burnham-On-Sea, (River Parrett and River Brue)

Weston Bay (51°20'N., 3°00'W.) lies between Brean Down and Anchor Head, 2.3 miles NE. The latter point is formed by the W extremity of Worlebury Hill, a ridge, which rises to a height of 100m and is surmounted by a conspicuous radio mast and a water tower. The whole of this bay is blocked by mud flats which dry up to about 1.3 miles seaward of its E shore.

Birnbeck Islet lies 0.2 mile W of Anchor Head and is connected to it by a bridge. A pier used by small craft fronts the N side of this small islet. Weston Ledge, an isolated shoal patch, lies about 0.5 mile W of the islet and has a least depth of 1.2m.

The River Axe, which is navigable only by small craft at HW, flows into the SE corner of the bay. Knightstone, a small drying boat harbour, lies 0.3 mile SE of Anchor Head and is protected by a rocky projection.

Weston-Super-Mare, a resort town, extends along the N and E sides of Weston Bay. Grand pier, constructed on iron piles, extends 0.3 mile W from the NE shore of the bay and is conspicuous.

Steep Holm (51°20'N., 3°06'W.), 72m high, lies 2.7 miles WNW of Brean Down. This island has steep cliffs which render it inaccessible, except at the E end which is fronted by a shingle drying spit. South Patches, a shoal, lies about 1.5 miles E of the E end of Steep Holm and has a least depth of 4.3m.

Sand Bay (51°22'N., 2°58'W.) lies between Anchor Head and Sand Point, 2 miles NNE. It is entirely filled by sand and mud flats on which numerous fishing stakes may be encountered. Swallow Rocks, which dry, extend up to about 0.2 mile W from Sand Point.

Many small harbours have not been covered in this area, the following links from www.ports.org.uk give a good snapshot of each, and normally contact details for the Harbourmaster:
 
 

Wales,  S.Coast including approaches to Milford Haven

Wales-South Coast-Off-lying Dangers

The Smalls (51°43'N., 5°40'W.), a group of low rocks, forms the NW extremity of the approach to Bristol Channel and is the W and outer danger in the approach to Milford Haven. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 41m high, standing on the NW and largest rock. A racon is situated at the light.

Hats (51°43'N., 5°37'W.), an area of rocky ground, lies 2 miles E of The Smalls. It has a patch, with a least depth of 2.3m, which breaks in bad weather and is usually marked by tide rips except near slack water.

Barrels (51°43'N., 5°33'W.), an area of a rocky ground lies 4.2 miles ESE of The Smalls. Several drying rocks are located near the N end of this area and are usually marked by tide rips except near slack water.

Grassholm (51°44'N., 5°29'W.), a prominent island, lies 7 miles E of The Smalls and is 44m high.
Mersey Rock, which dries 0.6m, lies close off its NE end and several other rocks lie close off the SW and S parts of the island. A tongue of foul ground extends 1.5 miles SE from the island and may cause tide rips at times.

Caution...A Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), which is IMO-adopted, has been established to the W of The Smalls and may best be seen on the chart.

Blackstones, a group of above-water rocks which never cover, lies 0.2 mile S of Midland Isle.

Crab Stones,another group of rocks, extends E from Midland Isle and dry up to 5.6m. Several dangerous sunken rocks lie close SE and SSE of the outer rock of Crab Stones.

The Bench, a cluster of rocks which never cover, lie about 0.3 mile offshore, 0.8 mile S of Wooltack Point.

Gateholm Island, 37m high, lies 1.5 miles SE of Wooltack Point and is fringed by shelving rocks which connect it to the mainland at LW.

Skokholm Island (51°42'N., 5°16'W.) lies 2.5 miles SSW of Wooltack Point. It has precipitous sides and attains a height of 50m near the SW end. A light is shown from a prominent white tower, 18m high, standing at the SW end of the island.

An isolated rock lies close off the E end of the island which is formed by a low neck. A spit, composed of sunken rocks, extends about 0.3 mile NNE from this isolated rock and has a least depth of 2.1m. Several shoal patches lie SE of the isolated rock. The outer patch lies about 0.4 mile offshore and has a least depth of 6.3m. Several rocky patches lie off the W end of the island. The outer patch lies about 0.5 mile W of the W extremity and has a least depth of 9.4m.

Broad Sound, a wide and deep channel, leads between Skokholm Island and Skomer Island, but is partially obstructed by The Knoll, a rocky bank, which lies in mid-channel and has a least depth of 7.6m.

Tides...Currents...Wildgoose Race forms W of Skomer Island and Skokholm Island during the strength of the tidal currents. It is especially violent near the time of springs, with a strong wind blowing against or across the current, and is dangerous for small craft. A race of much less violence extends NE from Skokholm Island when the currents are setting strongly.

A strong current, with various and sudden eddies, is reported to set through Jack Sound and attain rates of 6 to 7 knots.


Milford Haven (51°43'N., 5°02'W.)

See full coverage of

Milford Haven 1, Entry and Passage Anchorages

Milford Haven 2. Marinas, Moorings and Cleddau River Anchorages


Aspect-St. Ann’s Head (51°41'N., 5°10'W.), a bold promontory, is 37m high and forms the W entrance point of the haven.
Its steep cliff face has a distinctive reddish-brown color. A light is shown from a tower, 13m high, which stands near the cliff edge and is attached to several prominent buildings. A conspicuous disused light tower, used as a coastguard station, is situated close NW of the light.

St. Ann’s Head Shoals, with depths of 5.5 to 11m, extends up to about 0.5 mile S and SW of the point and is marked by a lighted buoy. A detached shoal, with a least depth of 4.4m, lies about 0.5 mile ENE of St. Ann’s Head and is marked by a lighted buoy.

Middle Channel Rocks, a rocky shoal bank, lies about 0.7 mile SE of St. Ann’s Head and has a least depth of 5.3m. A lighted beacon stands on the rocks at the NW side of this bank and a lighted buoy is moored about 0.2 mile SW of it. The Rows Rocks, a rocky shoal, lies close E of the E side of Middle Channel Rocks and has a least depth of 8m.

Sheep Island (51°40'N., 5°07'W.), the E entrance point of the haven, lies 2 miles ESE of St. Ann’s Head and is fronted by foul ground. This island is 36m high and connected to the mainland by a drying ledge. A small islet lies close off its W side.
Sheep Rock, with a least depth of 6m, lies about 0.5 mile WSW of the W end of Sheep Island and is marked by a lighted buoy. Several shoal patches, with depths of less than 10m, lie within 0.3 mile S and SW of the island.

Chapel Rocks, a rocky shoal bank, lies about 0.8 mile NW of Sheep Island. It has a least depth of 3.5m and is marked by lighted buoys. Thorn Rock, with a least depth of 3.7m, lies about 1 mile NE of Chapel Rocks and is marked by a lighted buoy.

Several oil refinery complexes, with associated tank farms and prominent chimneys, are situated along the shores of the haven and may best be seen on the chart. A prominent power station stands on the S side of the haven, 5.5 miles E of the entrance, and has a conspicuous chimney, 218m high. A prominent road bridge, with a vertical clearance of 37m, spans the haven 8 miles E of the entrance. The river above this bridge is only used by small craft.

The entrance channels are marked by lighted buoys. The W entrance channel and haven fairways are indicated by lighted ranges which may best be seen on the chart. The centerline ranges of the W entrance channel are fitted with high intensity lights which are used in daylight, in reduced visibility, or at any time upon request.


Wales-South Coast-Milford Haven to St. Govan’s Head


Freshwater West Bay (51°39'N., 5°05'W.) is entered between Sheep Island and Linney Head, 4 miles SE. It provides sheltered anchorage during offshore winds, in depths of not less than 16m; inside this depth, the bottom is foul. The N side of the bay is formed by bold cliffs, but the E side has a sandy foreshore.

Turbot Bank (51°37'N., 5°08'W.) lies 2.5 miles W of Linney Head. This shoal bank has a least depth of 9.6m and is marked by a lighted buoy.  During bad weather, tide rips and a dangerous short sea may be encountered in this vicinity.

Linney Head (51°37'N., 5°03'W.) is formed by dark and perpendicular cliffs, 46m high, and has a flat summit. A rock, which dries 4m, fronts the head and a shoal patch, with a depth of 6.7m, lies about 0.5 mile SW of it.

Crow Rock, which dries 5.5m, lies 0.5 mile SSE of Linney Head and is marked by a ruined beacon. The Toes, consisting of several shallow rocks, extends up to 0.2 mile NW and 0.5 mile SE of Crow Rock.

Pen-y-holt Stack is located 0.4 mile ESE of Linney Head. It is prominent, 23m high, and stands on the foul ground fronting the coast.


Caution-Numerous lobster pots may be encountered in Freshwater West Bay and within 1.5 miles of Linney Head.


Wales-Bristol Channel-St. Govan’s Head to Swansea Bay


Bristol Channel is entered between St. Govan’s Head and Hartland Point which is located on the S coast, 37 miles SSE.

St. Govan’s Head (51°36'N., 4°55'W.), located 5.5 miles ESE of Linney Head, is formed by a perpendicular and bare limestone cliff, 37m high.  The land behind the head is nearly level and the conspicuous tower of  St. Petrox church, situated 2.5 miles N, can be identified from seaward. The old chapel and the well of St. Govan, the former being a small and crude structure with a belfry, are situated on a shelf halfway up the cliff, 0.5 mile W of the head. The spire of Warren church, standing 3.2 miles NW of the head, is also prominent. Rocky shoal patches, with depths of 8.5m, lie about 1.2 miles E and 1.3 miles ESE of the head. Several shoal patches, with depths of 12.8 to 16.5m, lie within 5 miles of the head.

St. Gowan Shoals (51°33'N., 4°57'W.) consist of several patches with depths of less than 18m. The outermost of these patches has a depth of 6.4m and lies about 4 miles SW of St. Govan’s Head. There are overfalls over this uneven shoal area and the sea breaks over it in heavy weather. St. Gowan Lighted Buoy, equipped with a racon, is moored about 4.8 miles SW of St. Govan’s Head and vessels should pass to the S of it.


Caution...A tidal race extends up to about 0.6 mile seaward of St. Govan’s Head.

Numerous inshore trawlers may be encountered in the vicinity of St. Govan’s Head during the summer months.

A submarine cable leads through the Celtic Sea to mid Bristol Channel and lands at Bridgwater.

Stackpole Head (51°37'N., 4°54'W.), located 1.2 miles NE of St. Govan’s Head, has a bold and sharp outline and its extremity is almost detached.

Old Castle Head, located 4.5 miles ENE of Stackpole Head, is the S termination of a distinctive summit which is 56m high and rises close inshore. This head should be given a wide berth as the tidal currents set directly onto it and produce overfalls and a short, broken sea.

Lydstep Point, located 1 mile ENE of Old Castle Head, is formed by a narrow ridge of limestone, 43m high. Shoal patches, with depths of 2.8 and 4.2m, lie about 0.8 mile E of this point.

Giltar Point is located 1.8 miles ENE of Lydstep Point and a line of vertical cliffs extends up to 1.3 miles W of it. The coast extending N from this point consists of high sand dunes which are fronted by drying sands. Between St. Govan’s Head and Caldey Island, the tidal currents set directly and attain maximum rates of 3 knots at springs and 2 knots at neaps.

Caldey Island (51°38'N., 4°41'W.), 56m high, lies 1 mile SE of Giltar Point. It is mostly bounded by cliffs of moderate height, the highest being on the S and NE sides. A prominent monastery, with a round tower, stands near the center of the island. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 16m high, standing near the SE end of the island.

Offing Patches, consisting of several small areas of foul ground, lies within 1 mile of the S side of the island and has a least depth of 6.8m. Drift Rock, with a least depth of 9.1m, lies about 1.3 miles SE of the light and the tidal current, setting W, occasionally causes a considerable sea over this rock. A ledge of rocky shoals, with a least depth of 3.7m, fronts the E side of the island. Spaniel Shoal, the E and outer of these dangers, lies about 0.5 mile E of the E end of the island and is marked by a buoy. Eel Spit, a rocky ridge, extends about 0.3 mile N from the N extremity of the island and has a least depth of 1.8m. Highcliff Bank, with a least depth of 1.9m, extends 0.8 mile N from the N side of the island and is marked by a buoy.

St. Margaret’s Island, bounded by cliffs, lies 0.2 mile W of the NW end of Caldey Island to which it is connected by a drying reef. Caldey Sound lies between the mainland coast and St. Margaret’s Island.

Man of War Roads lies centered 0.6 mile NE of the E end of Caldey Island and affords shelter from winds between SSW and NNW. Vessels can anchor, in depths of 11 to 13m, sand over sticky clay, with little tidal current. Caldey Roads, lying between Eel Spit and Highcliff Bank, affords anchorage, in depths of 5 to 9m.

Caution...Several submarine cables lie between the N coast of Caldey Island and the mainland.


Carmarthen Bay (51°41'N., 4°30'W.) is entered between Caldey Island and Worms Head, 14 miles ESE. The common estuary of the River Tywi and the River Taf lies at the head of this bay and Burry Inlet is located on the E side.

Trawlers Dread is located in the approach to the bay. This rocky shoal patch lies about 5.5 miles ESE of Giltar Point and has a least depth of 12.8m.

Tenby (51°44'N., 4°42'W.), a small resort town, is situated 1.3 miles NNE of Giltar Point. It stands on a bold promontory which terminates E in Castle Hill, a narrow peninsula of rock, on which stands a monument. A church, with a conspicuous spire, stands near the center of the town. 


A small island, 28m high, lies close SE of Castle Hill and is connected to it by a drying ridge of sand. A small tidal harbour, which dries, fronts the town and is used by fishing vessels and pleasure craft. Tenby Roads, lying NE of Castle Hill, affords good anchorage, in depths of 5 to 7m, sand over mud.

The Yowan, an isolated shoal patch, lies about 2.3 miles ESE of Tenby and has a least depth of 4.4m. Woolhouse Rocks, formed by a narrow reef which dries, lies about 1.5 miles SE of Tenby and is marked by a buoy.

Saundersfoot (51°43'N., 4°42'W.), a small town, is situated 2.3 miles N of Tenby. It is fronted by a small tidal harbour which is formed by two piers and used by fishing vessels and pleasure craft. A prominent castle stands on high ground, 0.7 mile N of the harbour. Monkstone Point, fronted by two small islets, is located 0.9 mile SSE of Saundersfoot. Three prominent radio masts stand close SW of this point.

Cefn Sidan Sands (51°43'N., 4°26'W.), an extensive area of drying sand banks, lies in the NE part of the bay and fronts the common river estuary. These sandbanks are clearly defined in bad weather by a heavy sea breaking on them. A bar lies at the W end of the sandbanks, but no attempt should be made to cross it without local knowledge as the depths and channels change frequently. The town of Carmarthen stands on the W bank of the River Tywi, 10 miles above the bar, and can be reached by small craft.

Burry Holms, 31m high, is located 2.7 miles NNE of Worms Head. This grassy islet lies close off the W end of the Gower Peninsula, to which it is connected by a drying spit of sand and rock. Foul ground, with depths of 5 to 11m, lies between 1.5 and 2.5 miles W of the islet. Hall Rock, with a least depth of 6.7m, lies near the W extremity of this foul ground area.

Burry Inlet is entered on the E side of the bay N of Burry Holms. This inlet, for the most part, is encumbered with shifting sands and the depths and channels change frequently. Burry Port, a small drying harbour, lies 1.5 miles ENE of the N entrance point of the inlet and is used by fishing boats and pleasure craft.

It was reported (1990) that the harbour at Llanelli, lying 3 miles E of Burry Port, had fallen into  disrepair and was no longer open to commercial traffic.

Rhossili Bay (51°35'N., 4°19'W.) lies between Burry Holms and Worms Head, 2.7 miles SSW. The shore of the S half of this bay is formed by prominent limestone cliffs, 30m high, which are backed close inland by hills, 189m high. Anchorage can be obtained within this bay, sheltered from S winds. Small vessels can anchor, in a depth of 5m, stiff mud, about 0.5 mile NE of Worms Head.

Worms Head (51°34'N., 4°20'W.), the SE entrance point of Carmarthen Bay, is formed by the W extremity of an island, 53m high, which lies close W of Rhossili Point and has three conspicuous hummocks.

Caution...Several buoys, which mark exercise and practice firing ranges, are moored in the vicinity of Carmarthen Bay and may best be seen on the chart.

An outfall pipeline extends 1.5 miles ESE from a point on the shore close SW of Tenby.

Port Eynon Point (51°32'N., 4°12'W.) is located 4 miles SE of Rhossili Point. The coast between consists of rugged, broken, and nearly perpendicular cliffs which vary in height from 30 to 61m. The shore is fronted by drying rocks and a reef, which dries, fronts the S side of Rhossili Point.

Port Eynon Point is 43m high, perpendicular, and surmounted by a small monument. Two small and low islets lie on a drying rocky ledge which extends 0.2 mile E from this point.

Helwick Sands (51°32'N., 4°18'W.) extend W for about 7 miles from a position about 0.3 mile S of Port Eynon Point. The W part of the sands, known as West Helwick, has a least depth of 1.3m and the E part, known as East Helwick, has a least depth of 3.7m. Helwick Swatch, a narrow passage, leads across the sands about midway between East Helwick and West Helwick and has a least depth of 5.5m. Helwick Pass, another narrow passage, separates the E end of the sands from Port Eynon Point and has a least depth of 2.4m in the fairway. These passages should only be used by vessels with local knowledge.

A lighted buoy is moored 0.4 mile S of Port Eynon Point and marks the E end of the sands. A lighted buoy, equipped with a racon, is moored close W of the W end of the sands.

Caution-Vessels should give Helwick Sands a wide berth as they are steep-to at the S side and the flood current sets NE towards them.  In addition, a heavy sea is often formed in the vicinity when strong W winds blow against the tidal current.

Port Eynon Bay (51°32'N., 4°11'W.) is entered between Port Eynon Point and Oxwich Point, a bluff point, 2.3 miles ENE. The shore is fronted by a sandy bank which dries to about 0.3 mile seaward.

A dangerous wreck, marked by a buoy, lies in the NW part of the bay. With offshore winds, small vessels can find anchorage, in a depth of 7m, good holding ground, about 0.8 mile ENE of Port Eynon Point. Vessels should give both entrance points of the bay a wide berth.

Oxwich Bay (51°33'N., 4°07'W.) lies between Oxwich Point and Pwll-du Head, 3.2 miles ENE. Cefn Bryn, a ridge of high ground, stands at the head of the bay and has the appearance of a cone when seen from the E. The shore of the bay is bordered by drying sands and the E side is backed by broken cliffs, 61 to 76m high. A rock, with a least depth of 2m, lies about 1.5 miles W of Pwll-du Head.

Caution...Two submarine cables extend seaward from the W side of Oxwich Bay and may best be seen on the chart.

Many small harbours have not been covered in this area, the following links from www.ports.org.uk give a good snapshot of each, and normally contact details for the Harbourmaster:
 

Swansea Bay

Swansea Bay (51°35'N., 3°54'W.) is entered between Mumbles Head and Sker Point, a low and dark point, 9 miles SE. The shores of the bay are mostly low and are bordered by an extensive drying flat which consists of sand, with patches of stone, covered by mud. Shallow depths extend some distance beyond the flat and a depth of 5m lie up to 1.5 miles seaward of the head of the bay. The ports of Swansea and Neath lie at the head of the bay and Port Talbot lies at the E side.

Mumbles Head (51°34'N., 3°58'W.), the outer of two islets, lies on a rocky flat which extends up to 0.5 mile E of The Mumbles, the SE extremity of the mainland. Cherrystone, a detached rock, lies at the E end of this flat and dries. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 17m high, standing on the summit of Mumbles Head.

Mumbles Pier extends 230m NE from a point on the mainland 0.2 mile NW of Mumbles Head. It is used by pleasure craft, but is reported (1990) to be in poor condition. Mumbles Hill, 60m high, rises steeply from the coast close W of the pier and is prominent. Numerous yacht and small craft moorings lie within the waters of the bay which front the S shore to the NW of the pier.

White Oyster Ledge (51°31'N., 4°00'W.), with a least depth of 8.5m, lies near the center of a bank with depths of less than 18m. In fog, this bank is sometimes useful in determining the position of a vessel. A lighted buoy is moored about 4 miles S of Mumbles Head and marks the S end of the bank.

Mixon Shoal (51°33'N., 3°58'W.), composed of fine sand, lies centred 0.5 mile SSW of Mumbles Head. This shoal dries in places, is steep-to on its SE side, and is marked by a lighted buoy.

Outer Green Grounds (51°33'N., 3°55'W.), an area consisting of numerous detached shoal patches, lies centered 2 miles E of Mumbles Head and is marked by a lighted buoy at the SE side. This area has least depths of 4.4 and 5.1m, which lie near its NW end.

Green Grounds (51°35'N., 3°56'W.), an area of shallow foul ground with detached patches of rock and stones, encumbers the greater part of the W side of the bay and is marked on its S side by a lighted buoy, moored about 0.8 mile E of Mumbles Head.

Scarweather Sands (51°28'N., 3°50'W.) lie across the S approach to Swansea Bay and extend to a position 6.5 miles WSW of Sker Point. The sands, which dry up to 3.3m near their middle and E parts, are marked on the E side by a buoy, on the S side by a lighted buoy, and on the W side by a lighted buoy which is equipped with a racon. In bad weather, a heavy sea generally breaks over Scarweather Sands; the area should be given a wide berth.

Hugo Bank lies about 0.5 mile NE of the center of Scarweather Sands. This shoal, which dries, is marked on its S side by a buoy. Kenfig Patches lies close N of Hugo Bank. This shoal, which dries near its SE end, is marked on the SE side by a lighted buoy.

North Kenfig Patches, consisting of several rocky shoals, lies about 2.5 miles NW of Sker Point and has a least depth of 3.4m.

Caution...Several outfall pipelines, which extend up to 2.3 miles seaward, lie in the NE part of the bay and can best be seen on the chart.

A wreck, with a depth of 7.1m, lies about 3.7 miles ESE of Mumbles Head and is marked by a lighted buoy. The banks lying in the vicinity of Swansea Bay change frequently due to shifting sands.


Conspicuous landmarks in the vicinity of the bay, which may be identified from some distance seaward, include the ruins of Oystermouth Castle, 52m high, standing 1.3 miles NW of Mumbles Head; the white tower of the guildhall standing 3 miles NNE of Mumbles Head; the tower of a hospital standing 3.7 miles NNW of Mumbles Head; a television mast standing on Kilvey Hill, 1.2 miles NNE of the entrance to Swansea;
the numerous flares, chimneys, and cooling towers of the chemical works situated close SE of Neath; and the numerous chimneys, cooling towers, and silos situated near the steel works, close S of Port Talbot.

Between Mumbles Head and Scarweather Sands, the tidal current sets E with a maximum rate of about 4 knots at springs and about 3 knots at neaps. From Mumbles Head, this current sets towards Swansea and Neath. The tidal current sets W from Neath and Swansea towards Mumbles Head at a rate of 3 to 4 knots at springs, and, at times, causes a strong race within 0.5 mile of the latter point.

Swansea (51°37'N., 3°57'W.)

See full coverage of  Swansea Harbour


Neath (51°37'N., 3°50'W.) occupies Baglan Bay and the lower reaches of the River Neath which flows into the NE corner of Swansea Bay.
Depths...Limitations...An approach channel leads NE over an extensive area of drying sand and mud, which fronts the river mouth, and lies between two training walls, 76m apart. It dries and has least depths of 7.1m at springs and 4m at neaps.

A yacht basin lies on the W side of the river and is fronted by small craft moorings.

Aspect...The approach channel is bordered by training walls which are marked by buoys and lighted beacons. Its seaward entrance is marked by lighted buoys. For conspicuous landmarks, see Swansea Bay.

Port Talbot (51°35'N., 3°49'W.)

Port Talbot lies at the S side of the mouth of the River Avon which flows into the E side of Swansea Bay. The harbour, which is an ore and coal terminal, is protected by two breakwaters. The wet docks, formerly entered through a lock within the river mouth, are closed.


Swansea Bay to Barry

Porthcawl (51°28'N., 3°42'W.), a small resort town, is situated 2.5 miles SE of Sker Point. The coast between is low, rocky, and flat for up to 1 mile inland. The town is fronted by a small tidal harbour which is protected by breakwaters. Prominent buildings stand close W and 1.5 miles NW of the harbour. A conspicuous hotel stands 0.4 mile NW of the harbour. A conspicuous water tower stands at Newton Down, 3 miles E of Sker Point.

A small bay lies E of the harbour and is fronted by an extensive sandy drying foreshore. Tusker Rock, which dries, lies 1.7 miles SE of Porthcawl. This drying rock is located at the S edge of a shoal flat and is marked on its S side by a lighted buoy.

Fairy Rock, awash, lies about 0.7 mile NW of Tusker Rock and is marked on its W side by a buoy Nash Point (51°24'N., 3°34'W.), located 7 miles SE of Porthcawl, is a prominent bluff. A conspicuous disused light tower stands close to the edge of the cliff, 0.2 mile SE of the point. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 37m high, standing on flat land, 0.4 mile ESE of the point. A radiobeacon is situated at the light.

The coast extending up to 4.5 miles NW of the point consists of bold cliffs, 30 to 60m high, backed by higher land.

Nash Sands (51°25'N., 3°40'W.), composed of sand and gravel, extends WNW for 7.5 miles from a position lying 0.5 mile W of Nash Point. The W part of this bank has a least depth of 2.7m and the E part dries. It is marked at the W and E ends by lighted buoys and on the S side by a buoy. Nash Passage lies between the E end of the bank and a rocky ledge which fronts Nash Point. This channel is about 200m wide and has a least depth of 6.1m in the fairway.

Caution...During the ebb tide, a very strong race occurs close off the outer breakwater at Porthcawl and attains a rate of 6 knots at springs. Both tidal currents set obliquely, NW and SE, across Nash Sands. To the S of the sands, the currents set ESE and WNW at rates of up to 4 and 5 knots at springs and 3 knots at neaps.

Nash Sands are subject to frequent change and should be given a wide berth.

Breaksea Point (51°23'N., 3°24'W.), located 6 miles ESE of Nash Point, is composed of low sandhills and forms the W side of the River Thaw, which is shallow. A ledge of limestone boulders and rocks, which dries, fronts the point and extends up to about 0.3 mile seaward. A conspicuous chimney, 128m high, stands on the point and a light is shown from a low concrete tower standing offshore, 0.5 mile SSW of it. Four prominent chimneys stand near a cement works which is situated on the E bank of the river, 1 mile NNE of the point.

Saint Hilary radio mast, 229m high, stands on a hill, 4.5 miles N of the point, and is very conspicuous from seaward. An aeronautical lightbeacon is shown from this mast. Wenvoe radio mast, 242m high, stands on a hill, 6.5 miles NE of the point, and is also conspicuous from seaward. An aeronautical lightbeacon is also shown from this mast.

Rhoose Point (51°23'N., 3°20'W.), located 2.5 miles E of Breaksea Point, is composed of limestone cliffs, 10m high. Conspicuous chimneys stand 0.3 mile N and 0.3 mile WNW of this point. A prominent radio mast, 28m high, stands at the airport, 1.2 miles N of the point.

Barry Island, connected with the mainland, lies 2.3 miles E of Rhoose Point. Barry harbour is entered between this island and Cold Knap Point, 0.3 mile W. It is silted up and usable only by small boats at HW. A large resort-camp building stands on Nell’s Point, the SE extremity of the island.

Breaksea Lightfloat (51°20'N., 3°19'W.), equipped with a racon, is moored about 3 miles SSE of Rhoose Point.

Directions...The main channel fairway, for vessels transiting Bristol Channel, lies in the deep water to the N of Breaksea Lightfloat and to the N of One Fathom Bank. It then leads E and NE, passing SE of Flat Holm. A secondary channel, used by light-draft vessels not requiring a pilot, leads S of the lightfloat and S of One Fathom Bank.

Caution...Due to strong tidal currents and traffic congestion, vessels are strongly advised not to anchor within the pilot boarding ground located N of Breaksea Lightfloat.

An isolated shoal patch, with a least depth of 8.2m, lies about 0.5 mile SE of the lightfloat.

Between Nash Point and Breaksea Point, the tidal currents set at rates of about 3 knots at springs. During the strength of the tide, considerable overfalls may be encountered off Breaksea Point.

Barry (51°24'N., 3°16'W.)

The port of Barry lies between the NE side of Barry Island and the mainland. It consists of three wet docks which may be entered through a lock or a basin. Barry and Cardiff are jointly administered from Cardiff.

Caution...Several dangerous wrecks, which may best be seen on the chart, lie in the vicinity of Barry Roads and the designated anchorage areas. In addition, numerous wrecks lie in the approaches to the port.

An outfall pipeline, marked by a lighted buoy, extends 1.1 miles SSE from the W side of Barry harbour. Another outfall pipeline extends 0.5 mile SE from a point on the shore, close E of the port entrance. Vessels navigating in Barry Roads should give the port entrance a wide berth.

 

Many small/commercial harbours have not been covered in this area, the following links from www.ports.org.uk give a good snapshot of each, and normally contact details for the Harbourmaster:
 

Wales-South Coast-Barry to Cardiff


Lavernock Point (51°24'N., 3°10'W.), located 3.5 miles E of Barry, consists of a prominent cliff, 15m high. A small church, with a belfry, stands on the point. The coast between is bordered by low cliffs and rounded slopes. Sully Island lies 0.3 mile offshore, 1.2 miles WSW of Lavernock Point. It stands out conspicuously, although it is only 16m high, and is connected to the coast by a rocky ledge which dries.

A coastal bank, fringed in places with detached patches, extends about 1.5 miles seaward from shore between Rhoose Point and Lavernock Point, and has depths of 7 to 10m. Patches of foul ground and several wrecks lie on this bank and the bottom is very uneven.

Sully Ledge, with a least depth of 6.4m, lies within this coastal bank, about 1.7 miles SW of Sully Island. Alldridge Shoal, with a least depth of 5.8m, lies about 0.5 mile SSE of Sully Island and several patches, with depths of 4 to 6m, lie between it and Sully Ledge.  Lavernock Spit, with a least depth of 2.7m, extends SSW for about 1.5 miles from Lavernock Point and is marked by a lighted buoy. Ranny Spit, marked by a lighted buoy, is the E extremity of an area of shoal ground which extends about 0.5 mile E from Lavernock Point. This area is steep-to on its E side and composed of stones, which dry in places.

Penarth Head (51°27'N., 3°10'W.), 65m high, is located 2 miles N of Lavernock Point. The shore between consists mostly of rocky ledges and stones which are fringed by drying sands. The nearly perpendicular cliff, which forms the head, is veined by gypsum and a church, with a conspicuous tower, stands on the summit. A pier, about 200m long, extends seaward from a point on the shore 0.3 mile S of the head.

Off-lying dangers...

One Fathom Bank (51°21'N., 3°12'W.), with a least depth of 6.7m, lies centered 4 miles SW of Lavernock Point. It is composed of sand and gravel and marked by a lighted buoy. The depths over this bank are subject to constant change due to dredging and tidal actions. A detached shoal, with a least depth of 7.6m, lies about 0.5 mile E of the E end of One Fathom Bank. In addition, several isolated patches, with depths of less than 10m, lie between One Fathom Bank and Breaksea Lightfloat.

Fairway Shoals (51°22'N., 3°10'W.), a shoal bank, lies about 2 miles S of Lavernock Point. It has a least depth of 4.1m and is composed of sand and rock.

Flat Holm (51°23'N., 3°07'W.), 26m high, lies 2.5 miles SE of Lavernock Point. Several prominent buildings stand on the N side of this island and a light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 30m high, standing on the SE side.

Rocky ledges, which dry, front the shores of the island and a bank, with a least depth of 2.7m, extends up to about 0.5 mile W from the W side.

Mackenzie Shoal, with depths of less than 5m, extends up to 1.3 miles SW from the SW side of Flat Holm and is marked by a lighted buoy.
New Patch, with a least depth of 2.7m, lies about 0.4 mile NE of Flat Holm. An extensive bank of uneven ground, with depths of less than 9m, extends NE from the vicinity of New Patch and forms the W side of the main channel leading to Newport and Avonmouth.

Tail Patch, with a least depth of 2.7m, lies about 3.2 miles E of Flat Holm. This shoal patch is marked by a lighted buoy and is located near the outer edge of the coastal bank which extends up to 3 miles seaward from the S shore of Bristol Channel.

The Wolves, consisting of three rocky drying heads, lies about 1 mile NW of Flat Holm and is marked by a lighted buoy.Flat Holm Shelf, a rocky shoal, lies about 0.3 mile NW of Flat Holm and has a least depth of 3.4m. A narrow passage, with a least depth of 9.1m, leads between this shoal and The Wolves.

Centre Ledge, with a least depth of 3.4m, lies 1.3 miles N of Flat Holm. It is located at the NE end of a bank which extends NE from The Wolves and has depths of less than 9m.

Monkstone (51°25'N., 3°06'W.), a drying rock, lies 2.3 miles NNE of Flat Holm, near the edge of the coastal bank. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 23m high, standing on this rock.

Steep Holm, lying 2.2 miles S of Flat Holm.

Cardiff Grounds, a bank, dries and is constantly changing. It lies nearly parallel to the coast and extends NNE for about 3.5 miles from a position located 1.2 miles E of Lavernock Point. This bank is hook-shaped and its N end curves S to within 1 mile of Monkstone. Lighted buoys are moored off the NE and SW ends of the bank and off the middle of the NW side.

Cardiff (51°27'N., 3°10'W.)

Full coverage of  Cardiff Bay


Tides...Currents...The tides rise about 12.2m at springs and 9.4m at neaps. Off Lavernock Point, the flood current sets E at a rate of 4.5 knots and the ebb current sets W at a rate of 5 knots. These currents usually cause a considerable overfall in this vicinity. In Cardiff Roads, the flood current sets NE at a rate of 1.5


Wales-South Coast-Cardiff to Newport

Peterstone Flats (51°30'N., 3°02'W.) are the continuation of the shallow flats which extend NE from Cardiff Grounds. These flats occupy the whole of the N side of the approach to Newport and extend up to 2.5 miles offshore.

A bank, with depths of less than 5m, extends up to about 4 miles offshore and fronts the entire stretch of coast between Cardiff and Newport.
This stretch of coast is backed by low and level ground for a  considerable distance inland and is protected by embankments.

Welsh Hook (51°31'N., 2°55'W.), a spit, lies off the SE side of the entrance to Newport and dries up to 4.3m. Usk Patch, which dries up to 2.2m, lies at the W extremity of this spit and forms the E side of the channel which leads NE and NNW across the flats to the mouth of the River Usk.

E & W Grounds Lighted Buoy (51°27'N., 3°00'W.), equipped with a racon, is moored 4.2 miles NE of Monkstone. It marks the main channel at a junction, known as The Bridge, where the fairway divides into two branches, Newport Deep and Bristol Deep.

Newport Deep passes along the E side of Peterstone Flats and leads N to Newport. Bristol Deep leads E to the port of Bristol.

Caution...Several dangerous wrecks lie within 1.5 miles of E & W Grounds Lighted Buoy and may best be seen on the chart.

Depths in the vicinity of The Bridge are constantly changing and care should be taken when navigating in this area.

Several outfall pipelines, marked by buoys, extend up to 0.7 mile seaward from the stretch of shore lying between Cardiff and Newport.

Newport (51°33'N., 2°59'W.)
The port of Newport lies within the mouth of the River Usk and includes two large wet docks.

Ports.org.uk coverage of Newport (South Wales)


Head of Bristol Channel

English Grounds (51°26'N., 2°57'W.), which include Clevedon Flats, fronts the S shore between Sand Point and Clevedon, 5.5 miles NE. This bank extends up to about 3.5 miles offshore and has depths of less than 5m, with a considerable part of it drying. North West Elbow and North Elbow, the NW and N edges of the bank, are marked by lighted buoys which are moored on the S side of the main fairway channel.

Welsh Grounds (51°31'N., 2°52'W.) fronts the low-lying N shore between Gold Cliff, located 3 miles E of Newport, and Sudbrook Point, 7 miles NE. This bank extends S for about 3 miles from the shore. Middle Grounds is composed of West Middle and North Middle Ground and forms the SW extension of Welsh Grounds.

Bristol Deep, the main fairway channel, lies between English Grounds and Welsh Grounds and leads E and NE to Bristol. The Bridge, the junction of Bristol Deep and Newport Deep, lies close SW of West Middle Ground.

Denny Island (51°31'N., 2°47'W.), a conspicuous rock, lies on the SE side of Welsh Grounds. It is 6m high and is marked by a beacon. Denny Shoal, a large portion of which dries, lies 1.7 miles SE of Denny Island on the N side of the approach to the River Avon.

Black Nore Point (51°29'N., 2°48'W.) is located 9 miles NE of Sand Point. A light is shown from a structure, 11m high, standing on this point and the prominent tower of a school is situated close S of it. Two conspicuous radio masts, which can be seen from a considerable distance, stand 0.5 mile inland, 4.5 miles SW of the point.

Portishead Point, marked by a light, is located 1.2 miles NE of Black Nore Point. A conspicuous building stands 0.7 mile SSW of this point. Portishead Dock, which is entered through a lock, lies 0.5 mile E of the point, see full coverage, including reporting requirements for small craft.

Portishead Marina and approaches to River Avon

 


The mouth of the River Avon lies 2 miles NE of Portishead Point.

Caution...Spoil ground areas, which may best be seen on the chart, lie close E and 0.7 mile SE of Denny Island.

Welsh Grounds and the banks extending W from it dry to considerable heights and are constantly changing.

These banks are composed of sand which is hard and firm during the falling tide, but becomes unstable when the tide starts to rise.

Denny Shoal is subject to frequent changes. At times, this shoal has moved S and encroached into the fairway channel. Vessels approaching the head of Bristol Channel should remember that many of the dangers bordering the fairway, which appear formidable on the chart, disappear as such with the considerable rise of tide.

Bristol (51°30'N., 2°42'W.)
The Port of Bristol includes the Royal Portbury Dock, Avonmouth Docks, the River Avon, and the Bristol City Docks.
The City of Bristol is centered on the NE bank of the river about 7 miles above the entrance, see full coverage:

Bristol inc. River Avon and the Floating Harbour

Tides...Currents....The tides at Avonmouth rise about 13.1m at springs and 10m at neaps.

In the vicinity of the E & W Grounds Lighted Buoy, the flood tidal current divides, partly taking an E course into Bristol Deep and partly taking a NE course into Newport Deep. The ebb currents from these channels unite in the same area.

The flood and ebb currents attain maximum rates of 4 knots at springs and 2.5 knots at neaps.

In King Road, the flood current attains a maximum rate of 5 knots at springs and the ebb a rate of 4 knots.

Eddies are sometimes formed off Portishead Point during the flood current. 

Adjacent coverage to the Bristol Channel can be found here:

Wales and North West England

Channel West, (Scilly Isles to the Solent)


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Warning, much of the text on this page has been adapted from material intended mainly for big ship mariners (NGA Sailing Directions). It's suitability for small craft must be left in the hands of the individual skipper. As with everything else on this site, the information is not to be used for navigation purposes, but may be useful in the passage planning stages.

The coverage of individual harbours, including approach and entry, is specifically written for yachts and motorboats.





 

 
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