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Sandwich (River Stour)

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


None Given


Admiralty 1827, SC5605

Rules & Regulations

6 Knts Speed Limit


Drying Bar, Strong Flood Tide

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW at bar +0015 Dover, HW Sandwich Quay +0100 Dover, MHWS 3.3m, MHWN 2.6m, MLWN 0,3m, MLWS 0.1m. Richborough tide tables:   (links)

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General Description

Sandwich is another Cinque Port town that has found itself silted up and nowadays lays some 4 1/2 miles from the sea. Like Rye, the town has an very interesting history and is picturesque in the extreme.

A good look at the map provided will show how in times gone past ships could easilly reach the town. In fact the French did just that in 1457 when 4000 men from Honfleur gave the town of "Sand Wick" a good sacking, more or less burning the place down. On this infamous day the Town Mayor met his end, an event still commemorated by the present day Mayor wearing black. Nowadays with Anglo-French relationships somewhat less antagonistic, the town of Sandwich is twinned with Honfleur. ... read more


The tidal flows in the River Stour are slightly unusual with the net result that strangers are advised to only tackle the passage to Sandwich on a rising tide.

The tide times given in the link are for Richborough, which is near the entrance. High water at the Quay comes around 40 minutes later. The flood tide can reach a surprising speed in the last hour or two. This is probably because the flood is of a somewhat shorter than usual duration, varying between three and five hours. The duration of the flood is dependent on it's height and also on the amount of freshwater trying to flow out of the River. In contrast to the truncated flood, the ebb can persist for up to 9 hours....

The bar across Pegwell Bay dries out at almost 1 m over CD. The River varies between depths of 0.5 m and 1 m under CD with plenty of drying patches. Levels fluctuate and cannot be guaranteed. Maximum depth at the quay is slightly over 2 m during spring tides. Almost this much can be carried under the swing bridge at Sandwich to the adjacent boatyard. With careful pilotage boats drawing up to 2 m can reach Sandwich at spring tides. At other times only shallower draft craft should attempt the passage..... after careful consultations with the charts and tide tables.

See the harbour website for more information:


Further Pilotage Details... ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

There is not enough room for the yachtsman or motorboater to anchor anywhere within the River Stour. Most make straight for Sandwich Town Quay...

When following the river towards Sandwich you will come across "Sandwich Marina" on your starboard hand in Bowling Green Reach. This offers boatyard facilities and long-term moorings, while also catering for live aboards. A link to their website is provided below: ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 8th Apr 2016
We have provided a link to the 2016 Robert Holden chart of the Stour Estuary. Many thanks Robert.
Update Jan 2016
Written by Bryant | 12th Jan 2016
I am the cartographer / compiler of the River Stour entry chartlet to Sandwich. Reading comments people acknowledge that it is a difficult entry but I regularly take our 30ft gaffer drawing 5 ft in and out on spring and neap tides.

As it says on the tin... READ the instructions and entry will be OK, even with a 6 month out of date chart. I entered just a week ago from Ramsgate - 4th Jan 2015 when the chart is now 9 months out of date, since when the heavy rains have caused the EA to open the sluices at Stonar Cut.. Bends can now be expected to be anything up to 80 ft from the charted position. Especially the bend at the isolated danger mark - which is no longer a danger since, during the summer, it has begun to be swallowed by an encroaching inner bend mud bank.

Back to reading the instructions. Besides use of the Mark I eyeball the other instrument of paramount use is an echo sounder.. Establish the midriver depth going sharply from side to side. Then go to the inside of each bend and follow a contour of say half a meter shallower than the depest water. Then when round that bend and in the straight before the next cross over, noting the deepest depth again, and begin to follow a shallower contour around the next bend. Do not go anywhere near the Isolated Danger Mark pole. The outside of the bends are VERY steep to.

Then it is a sharpish turn around Pepperness buoy, a long curve to Shellness buoy then follow the middle, inward, once clear of Shellness and Throat buoys - beyond which are the seals. Over 80 a few days ago.

For the website for the Port and Haven, which I maintain and have posted the 2015 chart, go to www.sandwichphc.uk - and for our gaffers website go to www.yacht-emanuel.co.uk Please feel free to download the chart. Initial looksee survey for 2016 takes place in abouy 4 weeks. I hope it is not snowing since I will be in Emanuel's 9ft inflatable for the shallow draft needed at low water across Pegwell Bay.

Enjoy the river. At present a lovely shade of fields mud brown.

Robert Holden
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Update November 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 10th Nov 2015
By Don T. I have located the Robert Holden chartlet for the Estuary which is based on a survey done in the Spring of 2015. It is supplied since the previous chartlet; it must still be viewed as the "best possible" but not relied on entirely for navigation.

The experience of our member below shows how difficult it is to keep up to date with the changes to this channel.
entering with no local knoledge other than this site
Written by n07900 | 8th Jun 2014
Ive just been into the stour in my flat bottomed jung rig yacht, draght 0.6M following the pdf got me nearly grounded, pdf is out of date as per the warnings, quite a few of the bouys can be seen washed up on the shore As I was anchored on the mud I watched the harbour master putting the fairway bouy out and other marks, so hopefully the route out will be easier on my boats bottom
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed in early April 2014. Please read the notes on the pilotage through Pegwell Bay carefully, even if you have been here before. We have talked to the locals and they suspect that this winter has brought about significant changes but have not yet looked at it in detail. We will update when things are clearer.
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 18th Mar 2013
These notes were updated by Don T on the 18th March 2013. It is suspected that the channel around Shellness has migrated a bit to the North and a survey is expected in April 2013; we hope to be able to post the results when they become available.
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