This article deals with Milford Haven away from
.... the entrance and it's associated anchorages, and also the River Cleddau. The article Milford Haven 1, covered approach and entry from sea and also the three passage anchorages.
Milford Haven is a glorious natural harbour, but there are numerous movements of tankers to be taken into account. Also the various oil terminals somewhat dominate the estuary, but once you push further up past the Cleddau Bridge everything changes.Although still strongly tidal, the River winds it's way inland amidst beautiful scenery, leaving the industrial scene behind.
In the area covered there are two marinas plus a few other mooring options and also a wide choice of anchorages. Other than Milford Haven itself, facilities are a bit thin on the ground for provisioning, so it may be worth doing a big stock up there if planning to explore this delightful area.
Various areas have been set aside for different activities, from acrobatics on PWC's through waterskiing etc. Large areas including most of the River Cleddau are designated quiet areas, with the speed limit of dead slow and no wash. It will be possible to find a peaceful anchorage undisturbed by the antics of the speedy.
Milford Haven Port Authority have the overall responsibility for these waters, and they produce a useful guide for small craft showing what is permissible in all the different areas. Download it here:
Their website also provides local notices to Mariners, and plenty of other information for small craft users. A link is provided below:
The seaward approach has already been covered in
..... a separate article. We shall assume you are already in and have made your way past Angle Bay and all the associated oil terminals.
There is plenty of room to stay out of the shipping channel if required, and all ships on the move should be considered to have a moving exclusion zone in front of them. The extent of this zone is the limit of their forward visibility from the bridge of the ship, and is normally marked by the position of the escort vessel. All pleasure craft need to keep out of the way of ships at all times in Milford Haven whether under sail or power.
An Irish ferry regularly uses Pembroke docks and unlike the lumbering tankers can move very quickly. The scheduled times of its comings and goings are below:
St. Ann’s inwards at 1200 hours
Depart Ferry Terminal at 1445 hours
St. Ann’s inwards at 0000 hours
Depart Ferry Terminal at 0245 hours
Keep listening watch on VHF channel 12, and should you be caught in fog or bad visibility the safest course of action is probably to go and anchor in shallow water away from the ships.
Apart from that everything is fairly straightforward for passage up River, with the proviso that you take note of the large drying area of Pwilcrochan Flats soon after you pass Milford Marina and Dock. It is well buoyed and keeping to the Northern side of the estuary will clear this, as it radiates out some way from the southern banks.
Cleddau Bridge has a minimum of 37 m clearance, so will be no problem if making your way right up River. The Cleddau is easily navigable past Beggars Reach and up to Picton Point where the River divides into two, the W.Cleddau and the E.Cleddau.
After Picton Point navigation becomes far trickier, and in any case there is little of interest to draw the Mariner.
Various mooring and anchoring places for the visiting...........
....... yachtsman or motorboater are described now in the order you will come across them, Milford Marina, Neyland Yacht Haven, Lawrenny Yacht Station, plus many other possible mooring spots are covered together with prices:
Your initial VHF call should be to the lock operator using the c/s "Pierhead" on channel 14.
This Marina is formed in the old Milford Docks, and is run by the harbour authorities themselves. It lies on the North side of the estuary and is perhaps the most convenient for the town with its transport and provisioning. A well marked approach channel to the lock gates is defined by buoyage, and recognisable by small craft moorings either side on Milford Shelf.
A waiting pontoon is established in summer months near the gate and there was a time when one could have to wait at the lock gates for suitable tidal conditions to enter. That has all changed as they have built a completely new lock which operates almost 24/7 and you should not have to wait unless the lock is already in use. They do publish lock operating times for the current month here but if they are not busy they'll lock "on demand"
The Marina is manned 24 hours a day and the office is permanently contactable on VHF Channel 37 (call sign ‘Milford Marina') or by phone on 01646 696312. A link to their website is provided below:
Visitors berths (2018) work out at £2.70 per metre (min charge 6m), with electricity included for a fortnight. This is a reduction of 20p per metre!!
The 340 berth Marina has electricity and water available at all the berths. Toilets and showers and laundry are available ashore, with diesel and gas bottles available for the boat.
Liftings can be handled up to 16 tons, and on-site there are facilities for repairs and engineering as well as outboard sales and repairs. Marine electronics and chandlery are available too.
Milford Haven town facilities are all within walking distance with a Tesco Superstore just over the road from the end of the docks.
Possible Anchorage at Pennar Gut
A quiet and secluded anchorages can be found in Pennar Gut on the South side of the estuary just before Pembroke Docks. The scene is dominated by the power station and there is dredged channel for ships to reach it. These are not frequent, nevertheless you should take care not to anchor anywhere that may or obstruct them. Shelter is pretty good here from all directions other than the North.
There are various small craft moorings in the area and a bit of rooting around will be necessary to find a good spot to anchor, with more latitude at neaps than springs.
No real facilities, landing not allowed at the power station.
There are various small craft moorings past Pembroke docks on the South side at Hobbs Point. These are administered by the Pembroke Haven Yacht Club at Hobbs Point, but there are no specific visitors moorings. You could contact them on 01646 684403, or link to ther website below:
There are however council run pontoons just off Hobbs Point for visitors to Kelpie Marine who run a chandlery/ outboard engine/ repair facility located by the slipway. A link to their website is provided below:
These pontoons also give access to many supermarkets within walking distance.
Neyland Haven is located in Westfield Pill, opposite Hobbs Point on the Northern bank. Entrance to this 450 berth marina is available all states of the tide via a buoyed channel. Locking in isn't necessary. A Tidal cill separates the northern and southern halves of this Marina, but visitors are normally berthed near the entrance. Shelter is excellent and the surroundings rural.
CAUTION At the moment (2017) the two outer buoys for the channel into the marina are incorrectly charted on both the Admiralty charts and Navionics. Their positions are either side of the deep channel and are as follows:
PHM 51° 42.410N 004° 56.524W
SHM 51° 42.400N 004° 56.470W
A plan of the marina can be found here
24 hour listening watch is kept on VHF channel M and channel 80, or telephone 01646 601601.
Charges (2018) at this restful little haven work out at £2.50 per metre per day in the Upper Basin and £3.15 per metre per day in the Lower Basinwith shore power at £3.50 per day. All normal marinas facilities are available here with water and electricity on the pontoons, toilets, showers and launderette ashore. Chandlery and sail makers are virtually on-site, together with Dale Sailing Co. Handling boat repairs and engineering. The town of Neyland is but a few minutes walk away but its range of shops has been depleted leaving a small Co-Op as the main provisioner. .
If pushing on up River you will pass under the bridge (with plenty of clearance), and it is worth noting that in this section from the bridge up to where electricity cables cross the river is designated as a waterskiing area. Any anchoring in this stretch will be liable to disturbance. Once under the electric cables the whole River onwards is designated as a quiet area, with dead slow speed and no wash.
You are now unlikely to meet any heavy commercial traffic, thus there are numerous possibilities for anchoring. The big problem is the speed of the stream and trying to find somewhere to anchor out of the main flow (without tangling up with moorings). Anchors in general, no matter how good, do not like being disturbed constantly, pulling themselves out and resetting again with each turn of the tide. It also means the boat needs attending at every turn of the tide.
The solution is reasonably simple, and involves using two anchors, one placed upstream and the other downstream. The boat is always allowed to swing to the anchor doing the work. Once they are both dug in the direction of pull won't change dramatically, and the skipper can rest easily (Providing he remembers to constantly untangle the warps and chain that will be busily trying to wrap themselves up at each turn of the tide). Another advantage of the Bahamian moor is that you're swinging circle is dramatically reduced.
Once past the power cables (24 m clearance), there are any number of places the intrepid skipper could find a good Anchorage. One or two have been marked on the chart and some possibilities are mentioned below:
Opposite Jenkins Point, there is a small indentation called Williamston Pill, and the River is somewhat wider. You may be able to tuck in, and out of the stream a bit here.
Castle Reach offers various possibilities also, being mindful of Castle Rocks that lie unmarked beneath Benton Castle.
Shown on the continuation chart another possibility is opposite the disused quarries at Langwm Pill. Again the river widens out somewhat at this point, and with the fastest tidal flow taking the outside of the bend as defined by the deeper water, it is possible to anchor on the eastern side and remain afloat. An added bonus is that the village of Langwn opposite, can be reached by dinghy. There is a slipway at Black Tar, and the village can offer a post office and limited provisions.
The intrepid skipper of a shoal draft craft will have many more opportunities further up River to test his pilotage, but he really will need the large scale Admiralty chart 3275 onboard.
Finally last but not least, Lawrenny Quay.
This outfit is in the Carew River on the starboard side just past Jenkins Point. They offer mooring buoys for around 100 yachts, plus a floating pontoon where mooring customers may take on water. One used to be able to spend the night on their main pontoon but that was on a first come, first served basis and you need to be aware that it gets very shallow at LWS. Be careful of the current here; at anything other than slack water the water sluices past here into and out of the mudflats up the Carew river and buoy pick ups can be fun (especially if single handed) - along side on the pontoon is easier as all you have to do is ferry glide in against the stream (at something approaching three quarters throttle!!). Don't try to do it with the stream - once saw a guy in a Moody 30+ try to do that, his crew was not impressed as she nearly went overboard, boat hook, and all!
If you are tempted to poke around looking for an Anchorage past these moorings be very careful of the Black Mixen Rock which dries to 5 m and will be lurking under the surface around HW to catch the unwary.
Apart from the mooring buoys Lawrenny Quay can supply diesel and petrol (at "village" prices), and also operate a boatyard, repair facilities, slipway, and chandlery.(For "get you home stuff")
A cafe is nearby and the Lawrenny Arms Hotel has a restaurant and provides bar meals. Unfortunately no provisioning.
Mooring buoys cost £12 per night, and we provide a link to the Yacht Station's website below:
Facilities at the individual marinas and mooring places have been touched on. The more general facilities in the whole area are now considered.
Milford Haven is a reasonable sized town, offering all the normal shops and banks with cashpoints. Provisioning should be no problem (Tesco's and Kwick Save).
Milford Haven is the best bet for thorough provisioning in the area.
At Hobbs Point access is available to Pembroke, with plenty of shops and supermarkets.
Transport for crew changes can be handled by:
National Express operate services to both London and Birmingham via Steynton
The town in served by Milford Haven railway station. The station, and all trains serving it, are operated by Arriva Trains Wales on the West Wales Line. It is the terminus, and from here, trains depart every two hours to Manchester Piccadilly via Carmarthen, Swansea, and Cardiff Central.
Trailer Sailers are very well catered for in and around the Milford Haven area. There are many launching places available with good tidal windows, and free of charge too. This is good news because the large expanse of semi-sheltered waters are perfect for small craft. We have hesitated to give details of slipways in the Bristol Channel area due to the fierce tides, but Milford Haven is a different matter altogether.
Starting near the entrance, there is a concrete slipway at Dale, usable at all the tidal range. It is also free. Parking is available nearby together with a useful pontoon for the boat once you launch. This is sited in a dead slow area, but once past the yellow marker buoys the speedy can let rip, and there is a designated waterskiing area very close by too.
Hobbs Point, Near Pembroke Dock.
This is a wide concrete slipway (council run and free) with access at three quarters of the tidal range. Kelpie Boats, already mentioned are located here providing chandlery and outboard repairs amongst other things. Care is needed below half tide with a steep drop off the end of the slip.
East Llanion Pembroke
A wide concrete ramp with access at all the tidal range, easy to launch and recover and small parking fees. East Llanion Marine 01656 714806.
Lawrenny Yacht Station
Already mentioned in connection with moorings, this outfit also has a very good ramp usable all the tidal range. Fees are payable at the Hotel which also has a chandlery and boatyard. Parking is available. Telephone 01646 651212
Brunel Quay has a concrete ramp with access at three quarters of the tidal range, but access is tight.
There is one modern slipway directly into the locked Marina and another tidal slip to the East of the Marina. Telephone 01646 696312.
This list is not complete or exhaustive, but should give you a very good idea of the excellent facilities for the trailer sailers at Milford Haven. The following link gives good advice about launching and recovery:
Milford Haven History
In 1782 Sir William Hamilton inherited land in the Hubberston and Pill area, and decided to develop it into a harbour and town. Hon. Charles Francis Greville, his nephew, was given responsibility for managing the project, and in 1790 an Act of Parliament was granted which made it possible to continue. Greville proceeded to invite seven Quaker familes to settle in the new town, and in 1792 they arrived with the intention of developing a whaling fleet to service the growing demand for street lighting. In 1797 the Navy Board established a dockyard which produced warships. Progress was rapid, and by 1804, Admiral Nelson had described the area as one of the finest harbours ever seen.
Development of the town
In 1814 the Royal Dockyard was transferred to Pembroke Dock, which quickly reduced the fortunes of the new town. John Bartholomew commented in 1887 that Milford was in a languishing state, although he noted that the commercial docks, at that time under construction, "will probably become a great seat of trade with America". Robert Fulke Greville inherited the estate in 1824, and in 1853 relocated to the town. He commenced a series of improvements, including the building of a wooden pier and hotel for the Irish traffic, two bridges across Milford's two pills and obtaining an Improvement Act for the town.
The town's population was further boosted by Quaker whalers from Nantucket, and a growing fishing industry that employed a large number of people. By 1849, the district of Hakin was described as a considerable centre of boat building, with approximately 200 "shipwrights residing at that place". The Milford Docks Act 1874 authorised the construction of a docks in Hubberston Pill, a plan which was estimated to require 2 1/2 years before completion. It was eventually finished in 1888, but the transatlantic trade hoped for never materialized. Instead, the newly completed dockyard became the home of a sprawling fishing industry. By 1906, Milford had become the sixth largest fishing port in the UK, and in contrast to the general decline in Pembrokeshire's economy and a migration towards the South Wales Coal fields during the 1880's, its population rose. The Pembrokeshire Herald claimed in 1912 that "the fish trade is Milford's sole industry....the population of the town has doubled by means of it". In 1863, the railway network came to Milford, linking it to the Haverfordwest line and beyond. In 1866, work was completed on an additional extension which provided access to the docks and mining depot on the eastern side of the town. If the Manchester and Milford Railway scheme had come to fruition, the town would have enjoyed a direct rail link to the Midlands and Northwest England. By 1901, the town's population had reached 5,102, and by 1931 had doubled to 10,104.
The oil age
By the 1950's, the fishing industry was in decline, and unemployment in the area had reached 11%. A new wave of hope however arrived with the prospect of a booming oil industry. In 1960, the Esso Company built an oil refinery near the town, and this was followed by similar developments by many other chief oil companies in a 10 year period. In 1974, Milford could boast an oil trade of 58,554,000 tons, which was three times the combined trade of all the other ports of Wales. By the early 1980s, the Esso refinery was the 2nd largest in the UK. The industry however was not labour intensive, and did not provide huge labour opportunities for locals, in the 1970s employing only 2,000 workers." In 1996 the area hit the headlines internationally when the oil tanker Sea Empress ran aground, causing a substantial oil spill.
Attractions in the town include Fort Hubberstone, built in 1863 to defend the port, the docks and marina, and the ruins of an observatory. The town museum, located centrally in the docks area, is housed in the town's oldest building, the Custom House which dates back to 1797. The town's main industry today is oil refining.
Milford Haven is also the natural harbour on which the town stands (and from which the town takes its name).
Since the mid 1990s tourism has provided a base for travellers, from which to explore the local coastline, and growing employment opportunities for locals.
Milford has seen many ups and downs. At the height of the fishing boom, it was said that "every day was a pay day". In 1921, 673 people were identified as working as fishermen, by far the most common occupation in the town. The development of the oil industry also helped to boost the town's fortunes. However, the slumps have been just as severe. During the 80's and 90's, the town can be said to have become stagnant, with an unemployment rate which at times topped 30% and no major industry. Into the new millennium, its fortunes seem to have risen, as can be witnessed in the activity surrounding the impending LNG terminal, and all the new building works which accompany it and its connection to the controversial South Wales Gas Pipeline. In February 2003, Pembrokeshire Council granted outline planning permission to PetroPlus for an LNG storage depot at Waterston, and in March 2004, an additional site was approved at South Hook for ExxonMobil. International tourism has also increased, with the arrival of transatlantic liners and the revenue they introduce to the town. The Port Authority is aiming to double the number of cruise ships it handles in the period to 2011. The port handled 53 million tonnes of shipping in 2008, making in the largest port in Wales, and the sixth largest in the UK. There are two major commercial centres: Charles Street in the historic town centre, and the Havens Head retail park located at the foot of the docks area. The marina is gradually acquiring a commercial presence.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
The choice of eating and drinking establishments ashore depends very much on where you are. If tucked up in Milford Marina, the small town can offer a reasonable choice of pubs, cafes, and restaurants. Choices include Italian, Chinese, and Indian. There is even a nightclub and bowling alley too.
In the other Marina at Neyland you are close to the local facilities in that small town, which includes the pubs.
Should you be on a mooring near Pembroke (Kelpie Boats), nipping ashore in the dinghy will bring you to the substantial town. Here you will find a reasonable choice of restaurants from bistros to carveries not forgetting the ubiquitous Indian restaurants.
The links below cover what's available in these areas.
Restaurants inc Pembroke
If you are at anchor in the Cleddau River you will find the Lawrenny Arms Hotel by the Yacht Station, and another pub further up the river at Landshipping.