The harbour of Teignmouth is virtually landlocked, and....
.... offers complete shelter once in. Much of the area within consists of a large drying bank, called The Salty, and effectively reduces the area available to remain afloat to a fairly small channel.
Large shipping uses this harbour regularly as do fishing boats, but yachts are welcome and visitors pontoons are maintained a very short hop from the town. The town has a holiday atmosphere, and most needs for the boat and provisioning can be met here.
The entrance to the harbour is blocked by a constantly shifting sandbar and it is dangerous to attempt entry with strong onshore winds or swell when the whole area becomes a mass of breakers (Particularly on the ebb). In no way can this be considered a harbour of refuge, but Dartmouth is nearby. Daylight entry, with the wind offshore, little or no swell, and after half flood tide shouldn't pose problems.
The Admiralty chart does not mark the local buoyage, quite simply......
.... because the position of the bar changes constantly. In winter the entrance channel can vary from day to day.
The Teignmouth Harbour Authorities try hard at all times to keep a navigable channel open, dredging when necessary. They also shift the buoyage around to help the pilots get the big ships in and out. This does not necessarily mean that the buoyage marks where the channel is, it may well be marking where the channel was.
Shipping is very much constrained by draft, and has right of way.... keep well clear.
This is one of those harbours where local knowledge is essential, and strangers should only approach in the best of conditions. It should also be borne in mind that should you be tucked up safely inside, and the wind pipes up strongly from the South through to East, you could become trapped inside and unable to leave.
The harbour authorities are very helpful and will give advice to small craft, call them on VHF channel 12, callsign " Teignmouth Harbourmaster", or telephone 01626 773165 during office hours. For a first-time visitor it is a wise move to seek advice.
From a safe distance off, it is best to follow the advice given by the harbour authorities accessed by the link below:
Or navigate to it from their home page:
You will find excellent navigational photos of all the buoyage and beacons, plus pilotage instructions from the experts on the spot. Bear in mind that the tide can stream at over 4 kn, and it is necessary to give beacons and buoyage a wide berth, whilst maintaining good steerage way at all times. The initial Waypoints given by the harbour website and the Reeds almanac do differ but not by much; what is important is to make sure that you have correctly identified the first SHM, especially coming from the North, and not to confuse it with the second SHM with the same light signature.
You will notice two flashing lights on the shore behind the Spratt Sands. They are lights from a previous generation and serve to bring you in from the South on a line which will clear The Ness (the headland on the South side of the harbour entrance). You need to pick up the outer bar PHM (can buoy Fl.R.2s) and divert from the lead in line to leave that buoy to port if you wish to avoid crossing the East Pole Sand (depending on your draft, state of the tide and sea state)
Yachtsmen and motorboaters are not allowed to anchor anywhere within the harbour due to lack of space and shipping movements.
Two visitors pontoons are maintained close to the shore off Back Beach, and rafting is permissible. There is (in 2021) a £1.50 per metre per night charge and the harbour office is located at Old Quay House, Old Quay Road behind the Quay Warehouses and between the offices of ABP and Pike Ward. Make yourself known there if they don't find you first... at weekends and busy periods they may well be out in their launch. See the photo gallery and the chart for more info.
The tide can play tricks, and it is not unknown for boats to be pinned onto the outer sides of the pontoons by the ebbing tide, which case a pull off from the harbour staff can be arranged.
Shaldon Bridge effectively prevents any further progress up the River to Newton Abbott, but a dinghy mission on a rising tide is completely possible as is passage for angling boats with doghouses. On the Droggies' chart a portion of that bridge is marked as a draw bridge - be advised that it hasn't been moved for a long time but the harbour has applied for a test opening this summer (Thanks Tangerine for the heads up)
Visitors pontoons have no water or electricity, but water can be obtained in Jerry cans from the freshwater tap at Polly Steps (at the western end of the Western Quay), and at high water it may be possible to arrange freshwater alongside at New Quay.
Public showers and toilets will be found at the Den, close by the dinghy landing on Back Beach, with public toilets available in the town centre. It is an offence to discharge sewage anywhere in the Teign estuary.
Gas bottles are exchanged at the Chandlers in Teignmouth.
There are ample repair facilities and specialists for the boat in this area, check the directory. Auto diesel & petrol can also be obtained at the Tescos garage on Bitton Park Road or a bit further west (beyond the Sheldon Bridge) at a new Morrisons.
Provisioning should be no problem with the town centre supermarket and various smaller convenience shops. The main banks are all represented (complete with cashpoints) and there is a launderette and a post office.
Trailer boats can be launched at Poly Steps, a concrete ramp with all tide access, under the control of the harbour authorities.
Transport is good with main line connections from Teignmouth Station, to London and the North, with local buses serving Torquay, Newton Abbot, and Exeter.
The tourist information centre is located near the pier, telephone 01626 215666, link to website below:
The Teign Corinthian Yacht Club is not located in the harbour at all but just down the coast past the pier, telephone 01626 772734 link below:
Shaldon on the Western side can offer basic provisioning together with some useful boat facilities, including outboard engine specialist and marine diesel engineers.
TIDAL STREAMS TEIGNMOUTH
TIDAL STREAMS – Outside the bar the east-going stream, direction northward, begins -0135 Devonport (+0510 Dover); the west-going stream, direction southward, begins +0510 Devonport (-0030 Dover).
On the bar the in-going (flood) stream begins -0535 Devonport (+0110 Dover) and, till the banks are covered, runs in the direction of the channel at a rate of 0.8 to 1.5 knots. As the banks cover the south-going coastal stream runs inward across Spratt sand, and later, when the north-going coastal stream begins -0135 Devonport (+0510 Dover), this stream runs in across Pole sand.
Inside the bar the flood stream, which attains a rate of 4 to 5 knots off Ferry point, at first turns northward and runs in the channel at a rate of 2 to 3 knots, but later as the tide rises, it runs across Salty flat towards the bridge at a rate of 0.5 to 1.5 knots. Strong eddies run outwards during the flood stream on both sides of the channel off Ferry point.
The out-going (ebb) stream begins +0040 Devonport (-0500 Dover) and runs at first from the bridge, across Salty flat, towards Ferry point; later as the tide falls, it is more and more confined to the channel. After passing Ferry point the stream at first runs east-north-eastward across Spratt sand, but, as the tide falls it sets more directly in the channel. The last of the ebb, after +0510 Devonport (-0030 Dover) runs, from the outer end of Pole sand, southward with the south-going coast stream.
Inside Ferry point the ebb stream is weak at first, but increases as Salty flat uncovers, and attains a rate of about 1.5 knots at the bridge, 3 knots in the channel off the town, increasing to 5 knots off Ferry point and then decreasing to from one to 2.5 knots on the bar. There are no eddies off Ferry point during the ebb stream.
Teignmouth is a town in Devon, England, situated on the north bank of the estuary mouth of the River Teign. In 1690, it was the last place in England to be invaded by a foreign power. The town grew from a fishing port associated with the Newfoundland cod industry to a fashionable resort of some note in Georgian times, with further expansion after the opening of the South Devon Railway in 1846. Today, its port still operates and the town remains a popular seaside holiday location.
The town is linked with Shaldon, the village on the opposite bank, by a passenger ferry at the river mouth and by a road bridge further upstream. The red sandstone headland on the Shaldon side called "The Ness" is the most recognisable symbol of the town from the seaward side.
In the harbour area is the Salty, a small flat island created through dredging operations. Salmon nets are still employed by locals, especially near Shaldon Bridge. The town is located on the A379, B3192 and A381 (which follows the River Teign).
The first record of Teignmouth (as Tengemuða, meaning mouth of the stream) was in 1044. There were originally two villages, East and West Teignmouth, separated by a stream called the Tame. Neither village is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but East Teignmouth was granted a market by charter in 1253 and one for West Teignmouth followed just a few years later.
Documents indicate that Teignmouth as a whole was a significant port by the early 14th century, second in Devon only to Dartmouth. It was significant enough to have been attacked by the French in 1340 and to have sent seven ships and 120 men to the expedition against Calais in 1347. However its relative importance waned during the 15th century, and did not figure at all in an official record of 1577. This may have been due to silting up of the harbour caused by the operations of the tin miners on Dartmoor.
During the 17th century, in common with other Channel ports, Teignmouth ships suffered from raids from Dunkirkers, which operated as privateers from Flemish ports. It is possible that smuggling was the town's most significant trade at this time, though cod fishing in Newfoundland was also of great importance.
In July 1690, after the French admiral Anne Hilarion de Tourville defeated an Anglo-Dutch fleet at the Battle of Beachy Head, the French fleet was anchored in Torbay and some of the galley fleet travelled the short distance up the coast and attacked Teignmouth. A petition to the Lord Lieutenant from the inhabitants described the incident:
“ … on the 26th day of this instant July 1690 by Foure of the clocke in the morning, your poor petitioners were invaded (by the French) to the number of 1,000 or thereabouts, who in the space of three hours tyme, burnt down to the ground the dwelling houses of 240 persons of our parish and upwards, plundered and carried away all our goods, defaced our churches, burnt ten of our ships in the harbour, besides fishing boats, netts and other fishing craft … ”
After examining 'creditable persons' the Justices of the Peace concluded that:
“ by the late horrid invasion there were within the space of 12 houres burnt downe and consumed 116 dwelling houses … and also 172 dwelling houses were rifled and plundered and two parish churches much ruined, plundred and defaced, besides the burning of ten saile of shipps with the furniture thereof, and the goods and merchandise therein … ”
As a result of this statement The Crown issued a church brief that authorised the collection of £11,000 for the aid of the town. Churches from as far afield as Yorkshire contributed, and the collections enabled the further development of the port.
This was the last invasion of England (though not of Britain as the French invaded Carreg Gwastad, near Fishguard, Pembrokeshire in 1797). French Street with its museum is named in memory of the occasion.
1700 to present
“ A new advantageous Plan of Privateering. For a Six Months Cruize
All Gentlemen Seamen and Able Landmen who delight in the Music of Great Guns and distressing the Enemies of Great Britain have now a fine opportunity of making their Fortunes by entering on Board The Dragon Privateer … now ready to be launch'd in the Harbour of Teignmouth… Any persons capable of beating a Drum or blowing a French horn shall have great encouragement. ”
—Advertisement for the Dragon, 1779.
In the late 18th century, privateering was popular in Teignmouth, as it was in other Westcountry ports. In 1779 the French ship L'Emulation together with her cargo of sugar, coffee and cotton was offered for sale at "Rendle's Great Sale Room" in the town. Teignmouth people also fitted out two privateers of their own: the Dragon with 16 guns and 70 men; and the Bellona, described as carrying "16 guns, 4 cohorns and 8 swivels". The Bellona set sail on her first cruise in September 1779, and was "oversett in a violent Gust of Wind" off Dawlish with the loss of 25 crew members.
The Newfoundland fisheries continued to provide the main employment into the early 19th century and, fortuitously for the town, as those fisheries declined the prospect of tourism arose. A tea house was built on the Den in 1787 amongst the local fishermen's drying nets. The "Amazons of Shaldon"—muscular women who pulled fishing nets and were "naked to the knee"—were an early tourist attraction for male tourists.
By 1803 Teignmouth was called a "fashionable watering place", and the resort continued to develop during the 19th century. Its two churches were rebuilt soon after 1815 and in the 1820s the first bridge across the estuary to Shaldon was built; George Templer's New Quay opened at the port; and the esplanade, Den Crescent and the central Assembly Rooms (later the cinema) were laid out. The railway arrived in 1846 and the pier was built 1865-7.
The First World War had a disruptive effect on Teignmouth, as elsewhere: over 175 men from the town lost their lives and many businesses did not survive. In the 1920s as the economy started to recover, a new golf course was opened on Little Haldon; the Morgan Giles shipbuilding business was established, and charabancs took employees and their families for annual outings to Dartmoor and elsewhere. By the 1930s the town was again thriving, and with the Haldon Aerodrome and School of Flying nearby, Teignmouth was advertised as the only south coast resort offering complete aviation facilities.
During the Second World War Teignmouth suffered badly from "tip and run" air raids. Teignmouth's newly built hospital was destroyed during a raid on the 8th May 1941.  It was bombed 21 times between July 1940 and February 1944 – in these raids 79 people were killed and 151 wounded; 228 houses were destroyed and over 2,000 damaged.
The port of Teignmouth, in existence since the 13th century, is still active as of 2008, mostly handling clay, timber and grain.
The first quay ("Old Quay") was built in the mid-18th century on land leased from Lord Clifford. The opening of the Stover Canal by James Templer in 1792 provided a boost to the port due to the ease with which ball clay could be transported from the mines north of Newton Abbot. After coming down the canal the barges continued down the estuary to the port. By 1820 this trade was supplemented by granite from the quarries near Haytor on Dartmoor carried via the unique granite-tracked Haytor Granite Tramway which linked up with the Stover Canal. The granite that was used to build the New London Bridge came via this route and was sent from the New Quay, which had been built for this traffic in 1821-25 by George Templer, James's son.
The Old Quay was sold to George Hennet in 1850 and became the centre of his trading network. It had been connected to the South Devon Railway the previous year.
Until 1852 Teignmouth was legally part of the Port of Exeter. In September of that year, after many years of campaigning (latterly under the leadership of George Hennet), the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury finally agreed that Teignmouth should have its independence and this news was the cause of much celebration in the town.
Teignmouth also has a long tradition of shipbuilding, from at least the 17th century. By the turn of the 19th century there were three shipyards in Teignmouth itself, and three in Shaldon and Ringmore on the other side of the estuary. The industry declined in the early 20th century, but in 1921 Morgan Giles bought the last derelict shipbuilding yard and gave the industry a new stimulus. His shipyard became a major employer in the town, building pleasure craft in peacetime and small craft such as torpedo boats during World War II. However the business eventually failed in 1968 not long after Donald Crowhurst's notorious attempt to sail around the world.
The original bridge was owned by the Teignmouth and Shaldon Bridge Company and opened on 8 June 1827. It had 34 wooden arches and was 1,671 feet long with a swing bridge at the Teignmouth end to allow sailing ships to pass up the estuary. It had abutment walls of a considerable length at either end. It was the longest wooden bridge in England when built, at nearly a third of a mile long, and its original toll house survives. It cost around £19,000 to build, but the overall expenditure was about £26,000 due to the costs of the act of parliament and the purchase of the old ferry-rights. After only eleven years, on 27 June 1838 the centre arches of the bridge collapsed, the timbers being eaten through by shipworms. It was rebuilt in wood, but collapsed again in 1893. The bridge was completely rebuilt in 1927 using steel for the piers and main girders and concrete for most of the deck, except for the opening span which used timber.
On 28 October 1948 Devon County Council bought the bridge from the Shaldon Bridge Company for £92,020 and tolls were abolished. The original paintwork was inadequate to deal with the environment, and repairs were required in 1960 and in 1980. In 1998 it was discovered that the bridge had severe structural defects and work to correct this continued until 2002, the bridge remaining open throughout. After this work was completed, residents nearby noticed that in certain wind conditions the bridge "whistles". As of 2007 the problem has not been solved.
Wood recovered from the bridge during 19th-century rebuilding was used to make a large table which was displayed at Lindridge House until it was destroyed in the fire which immediately followed that house's conversion into a hotel.
The town today
In 2005, the volunteer Teignmouth Regeneration Project in association with the town, district and county councils published a strategic plan that identifies issues to be dealt with by 2015. Among the issues listed are to develop quality tourism, alleviate the danger of flooding to the town and provide affordable housing.
Although reduced from its heyday, Teignmouth still receives considerable numbers of holiday makers. It is twinned with the French town Perros-Guirec.
Apart from its sea-facing beach and pier with amusement arcade and rides, the beach wraps around the spit at the head of the river Teign providing another beach on the estuary side which overlooks the harbour with its moorings for many pleasure craft, and has views up the estuary to Dartmoor. An 18 miles (29 km) long waymarked route known as the Templer Way has been created between Haytor on Dartmoor and Teignmouth. It closely follows the route of George Templer's granite tramway, his father James's Stover Canal and finally the estuary to Teignmouth.
Since 1999 the town has hosted a summer folk festival. In 2005 Fergus O'Byrne and Jim Payne from Newfoundland were the 'headline' artists at that year's festival which celebrated the town's links with that region.
Both Teignmouth and Shaldon are blessed with plenty of places to eat and drink, with even the quieter Shaldon offering no less than five pubs all serving food.
Teignmouth itself being a bit of a holiday town offers a wide choice of restaurants including Italian and Indian, while real ale buffs could try the Blue Anchor.
All in all the thirsty and hungry crew won't be disappointed, try the links below for some ideas: