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Chichester Harbour, Eastern Sector (3)

Your Comments: 12 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


None Given


Admiralty 3418, SC5600

Rules & Regulations

8 Knts Speed Limit


Large Drying Areas

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW+0027 Dover, MHWS 4.9m, MHWN 4.0m, MLWN 1.9m, MLWS 0.9m Tide tables:   (links)

This site is designed for slower, roaming broadband connections, like you would get at sea, so it needs JavaScript enabled to expand the text.

General Description

This article deals with the far eastern side of Chichester Harbour, including Birdham Pool, Chichester Marina, and Dell Quay.

Although the harbour carries deepwater as far as Itchenor, from there onwards and in the approaches to the marinas tidal calculations will have to be made.  Marina berths are available here in complete shelter, although not exactly on top of big town facilities.

Harbour Dues Update 2020.

Chichester Conservancy have clarified the position on Harbour dues and Marina fees.  If stopping overnight at a marina the fees you pay the Marina will include the harbour dues.  A subsequent  overnight stop in the harbour outside a marina is not covered by that payment and harbour dues would have to be paid

For information on the dues payable to the Board see their website at:- 



After passing through Itchenor the shallowing channel is not as clearly marked as it was...

The moorings on either side show the way at first, and then the channel is marked by piles. From the visitors pontoon at Itchenor, the channel first trends southeast, then it meanders north eastwards. Just keep an eye on the green and red piles.

Branching off to starboard from the main channel there are two completely separate marked channels across the drying mud banks. The first leads to Birdham Pool, which is perhaps one of the oldest marinas in the UK. Set in what was originally a tide mill pond, this rustic and charming outfit can handle boats up to 15 m long with a 2 m  draft  maximum. Access is via a lock.

The second marked channel across the drying mud banks leads to Chichester Marina, again set in a natural pool. This Marina is entered via a lock, and can handle boats up to 20 m long with drafts of up to 1.8 m.

If pushing up the channel rather than visiting the marinas is your intention be aware that although the channel is marked as far as Dell Quay, it does in fact dry out so tidal calculations will have to be made. It is possible to arrange a drying berth at Dell Quay.

The harbour authorities can be contacted on VHF channel 14, or telephone 01243 512301. A link to their website is provided below:

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The visiting yachtsman or motorboater will find that it's not possible to anchor anywhere in the  eastern area of Chichester harbour and remain afloat.

Birdham Pool and Chichester Marina both offer floating moorings for visitors,  but a suitable rise of tide will be needed to approach either of these, and locking in is required. Pilotage information and prices are now given for both these marinas:

Birdham Pool.

The access channel to Birdham Pool is entered at the "Birdham" green beacon (Fl(4)G.10s) which also serves as a tide gauge. Tidal calculations will have to be made, but in general boats of 1.5 m draft will be restricted to 2.5 hours either side of HW Portsmouth. This is a conservative estimate, in practice a longer window may be available. The channel has been recently dredged.

The channel leading to the lock is marked by six green posts the last five of which need to be left very close on your starboard side. The best plan is to call "Birdham Pool" on VHF channel 80, or call the lock-keeper on 01243 511 482 or 07831 466815 to get advice on the approach and the availability of berths within. Telephone 01243 512310 for the marina, a link to their website is provided below:

The lock is staffed from 0600  to 2200 during the summer months , and from 0700 to 1800 in the winter. As the approach is tidal, access for boats with a 1.5 metre draft is 2.5 hours either side of Portsmouth HW.

A useful note has been left by Twohoots in our comments section at the end of these notes; he covers waiting options if the lock is busy when you get there and also advice on fuelling.

Facilities here include water and electricity, with toilets and showers ashore. Full shipyard facilities for the boat are available, including lifting out and repairs. Various engineers, boatbuilding and GRP are on-site. Provisioning a bit of a hike away. The charges here (2020) are £3.03 per metre per night, plus harbour dues. £3.60 for shore power

Chichester Marina.

Chichester Marina is a little further upstream, still on the starboard side and laying just north of Birdham Pool. It is accessed by its own channel, which starts from the area of the CM green pile (Fl.G.5s). The run in towards the lock is well marked, but this practically dry at LWS. A flashing red light on the control tower means there is less than 1 m in the approach. Shallow draught boats can get 24-hour access at neap tides. Chichester Marina can be contacted on VHF channel 80 and operate 24 hours a day. Alternatively telephone 01243 512731.

During the summer months the lock may operate on free flow around the top of the tide. The lock signals are simple, a red light means wait a green light means enter. Care is needed at free flow with the restriction of the lock accelerating the tidal effects.

Facilities available at the Marina include water and electricity (included in the berthing fee) on the pontoons, showers, toilets and laundry ashore. WiFi is available throughout and four hours worth is included in the mooring fee. Marina Security is good and there are adequate facilities for rubbish disposal and recycling. The fuel berth provides petrol or diesel, gas is available and there is an on site chandlery. Small provisions are available on site.

Berthing costs (2020) are now £3.50 per metre per night for 8 to 12.5 metre boats with a minimum charge of £28.00; . A link to Chichester Marina's website is provided below:

Facilities for the boat at this establishment include travel lift, hard standing, winter storage and full repair capabilities. Check the directory. 

Updated March 2020

Further Berthing Information

"Take the Chichester channel; on through Itchenor Reach, packed with moorings, and just past the entrance to Birdham Pool and the Chichester Marina you come to the wide open Chichester Lake. The Lake is clear of moorings but it is a bit shallow so you need to check your depth before anchoring. Once all the traffic has passed for the day, it's a beautifully quiet and sheltered place to be. We haven't been ashore here but we have seen others row to the marina waiting pontoon to go ashore. At high tide it would be possible to row onto the beach to the east of the marina, there are public footpaths round this part of the shore.

This information is reproduced here by kind permission of Alan Holmes, his site below has much information about Solent harbours and anchorages, has some good photos, and is based on plenty of hands on experience...check it out


The facilities at the individual marinas have been touched on, and this article looks at the more general facilities in the area.

Trailer Sailers can launch and recover at Chichester Marina, which although it does charge offers plenty of facilities. The ramp launches into the Marina, but you will need to lock out, and then back in again later to recover.

Other launching options are available at the slipway Dell Quay, and this is available at about half the tidal range. There are a couple of boatyards here, as well as the Dell Quay Sailing Club (01243 785080).

If at either of the marinas small provisioning can be obtained at Chichester Marina. A serious stock up will involve getting a bus (they run from the Marina entrance) to Chichester. In Chichester itself will be found all the usual High Street names, plus banks and cashpoints. Supermarkets include Iceland, Waitrose, and Marks & Spencer's. A Tesco Metro is near the centre, but there is a large Tesco supermarket just outside of town on the Fishborne roundabout.

Chichester is well connected by bus and by rail, and the two marinas just covered allow the opportunity of safely leaving the boat unattended should the need arise. Likewise crew changes can be handled from this area.


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Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings. It is the seat of a bishopric, with a 12th century cathedral.

Chichester today is a local government stronghold, three levels being administered from here. It is also a transport hub, and the centre for culture in the region, with a Festival theatre and two art galleries. The nearby Chichester Harbour, together with the South Downs, provide ample opportunities for outdoor pursuits.


It has been argued that the area was a bridgehead for the Roman invasion of Britain. The city centre stands on the foundations of the Romano-British city of Noviomagus Reginorum, capital of the Civitas Reginorum, and near to the Roman Palace of Fishbourne. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was captured towards the close of the fifth century, by Ælle, and renamed after his son, Cissa. It was the chief city of the Kingdom of Sussex. The Roman Road of Stane Street, connecting Fishbourne Palace with London, passes through the city centre. The city streets have a cross-shaped layout, inherited from the Romans: radiating outwards from the medieval market cross lead the North, South, East and West shopping streets. Quite a lot of the city walls are in place, and may be walked along over what still remains .

An amphitheatre was built close to what would have been the city walls, outside the East Gate in around 80 AD. The remains are now buried under land currently used as a park, but the bank of the amphitheatre is clearly discernible and a notice board in the park gives more information.


The City of Chichester is located on the River Lavant and south of its gap through the South Downs: this winterbourne stream often dries up during the summer months. For part of its course through the city is in in underground culverts. Its site made it an ideal place for a settlement, where many ancient routeways converged here. The oldest part is within the walls, but as with most towns growth has occurred beyond those confines.

The most obvious landmark is naturally the cathedral, but there are several others. The remains of the Roman amphitheatre are now buried under land currently used as a park, but the bank of the amphitheatre is clearly discernible and a notice board in the park gives more information.

The Butter Market in North Street was designed by John Nash, and was opened in 1808 as a food and produce market. In 1900, a second storey was added to the building, originally housing an arts institute. It is currently still in use by various small business, however Chichester City Council are soon to carry out a full scale renovation of the building, leaving the future of some of the current retailers in some doubt.

The Corn Exhange in East Street was built in 1833, one of the first in the country.  It is an imposing building, designed to show off its importance to trade. In 1883 it was also used for drama and entertainment. From then it became a cinema (1923-1984), a restaurant, and then a fast food restaurant. It is currently occupied by Next clothing retailers.

The Chichester Cross, a one-time site for the market, stands at the intersection of the four main roads in the centre of the city.


Chichester is the hub of several main roads. The most important of these is the A27 coastal trunk road connecting Eastbourne with Southampton. The secondary coastal road, the A259, which began its journey at Folkestone in Kent, joins with a junction with the A27 here and ends in Havant to the west. Both those roads make east-west connections. Three roads give Chichester acces to the north: The A29 from London, which has also joined the A27 to the east of the city; and the A285, which gives access to Petworth and another cross-country road (the A272); and finally the A286, heading towards Guildford.

Stagecoach South East bus company has its headquarters here.

Chichester railway station, on the West Coastway Line, has regular services to Brighton, London Victoria via Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth, Southampton and Basingstoke. In the past there was a branch line to Midhurst in the north; and a light railway built by Colonel HF Stephens known as the West Sussex Railway which ran south to Selsey, and which closed in 1935.

There are several long distance routes for walkers, cyclists and riders in the area, some of which, like the Centurion Way to West Dean in East Sussex, start here.

Chichester Cathedral

Chichester Cathedral, founded in the 11th century, is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and contains a shrine to Saint Richard of Chichester. Its spire, built of the weak local stone, collapsed suddenly and was rebuilt during the 19th century. In the south aisle of the cathedral a window in the floor affords a view of the remains of a Roman mosaic pavement. The Cathedral is unusual in the UK in having a separate bell tower a few metres away from the main building, rather than integrated into it. Within the Cathedral there is a medieval tomb of a knight and his wife, the inspiration of the poem "An Arundel Tomb", by Philip Larkin. A fine memorial statue also exists of William Huskisson, once Member of Parliament for the City, but best remembered as the first man to be run over by a railway engine. Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms were commissioned for the Cathedral.

In addition to the cathedral there are five Church of England churches; St Richard’s Roman Catholic church; and nine other religious buildings of other denominations.


The city holds an annual three-week arts and music festival (“Chichester Festivities“) held in July.

Its most prestigious cultural location is the Chichester Festival Theatre , one of the United Kingdom’s flagship theatres, whose annual summer season attracts actors, writers and directors from the West End theatre.

Pallant House Gallery, winner of the 2007 gallery of the year Gulbenkian Prize has a major collection of chiefly modern British art and in 2006 opened its new extension that houses the collection of Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson. It also has a changing programme of exhibitions.

Chichester Cinema at New Park is the city's first and only arthouse cinema. It shows a selection of mainstream, small-budget and older films, with showings 7 days a week. Vice presidents are Dame Maggie Smith and Kenneth Branagh.

The following paragraph considers the city’s music scene: in recent years it has experienced growth in various genres.

Popular music

A cornerstone of the Chichester music scene is Chichester RAJF (From "Real Ale and Jazz Festival"), a four day festival of music and real ale held each July in tents beside the 13th century Guildhall in Priory Park. Founded in 1981 by members of Chichester Hockey Club as a fund-raising event, the festival has grown in size and ambition. In the early years the focus was on traditional jazz and featured performers such as Kenny Ball, Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Baker. In the 1990s blues and R&B were introduced and more recently the festival has increased its capacity to 2500 persons and has offered a wide range of popular music including James Brown, Status Quo, Blondie, Boney M, Robert Cray, Hot Chocolate, Howard Jones, Go West, The Pretenders, The Drifters and Simple Minds. For 2008, Chichester RAJF has announced Squeeze for Sat 12th July. Though the Concert has to finish at 11 0'clock due to the local residents

Blues on the Farm is a festival held every June at Pump Bottom Farm two miles (3.2km) south of the city. Founded in 1991, it has become the UK's biggest outdoor blues festival hosting many of the top national and international names in a picturesque and friendly environment. Roots Around the World is another such festival, bringing what is described as the best in global music to the city and surrounding village halls.

The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

There are some opportunities for eating drinking in the area of the two marinas. Chichester Marina has on the site a bar/restaurant, and Chichester Yacht Club (also on site) allows visitors to use its bar and restaurant.

Within a 15 minute walk of these marinas can be found another three pubs, including the Black Horse and at Dell Quay the Crown and Anchor.

Chichester itself being a city (albeit a small one), can offer plenty of entertainment possibilities.... and funnily enough the history page lists a couple.

A couple of links are provided below for further investigation:

Pubs in the Chichester Area:

Eating Out in the Chichester Area:

THE 10 BEST Restaurants & Places to Eat in Chichester 2021 - Tripadvisor



Your Ratings & Comments

Dell Quay SC improved...
Written by Tyro Sailor | 19th Oct 2023
... by the construction of a new heads and shower.block on top of the clubhouse. Code for the door by phoning the club or asking when you arrive. They prefer you to book the berth online a day or two before. One or possibly two berths on the pontoon and a dedicated visitors' buoy, all free and all drying. The pontoon dries quite low and you may need a step or two to climb on and off.

No shops within easy reach.
Update March 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 22nd Mar 2022
I reviewed these notes in March 2022. Prices have been updated though Chichester Marina has not changed. Grateful to Tyro for his information below.
Update March 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 22nd Mar 2022
I reviewed these notes in March 2022. Prices have been updated though Chichester Marina has not changed. Grateful to Tyro for his information below.
More on Birdham
Written by Tyro Sailor | 24th Aug 2021
I visited here in August 2021 and was impressed by the friendliness and efficiency of the staff. Stuart, the lockkeeper was very helpful, passing shore lines (but you need your own fenders, port side), allocating a berth and providing directions to it.

For those unfamiliar with pile moorings, as we were, it needs a bit of preparation. You need four lines, one at each corner, with a large bowline in each. Take the two stern lines forward and drop them over the outer piles as you pass - slowly! Then take in on these, but only enough to reach the inner piles with the bowlines in the bow lines 😆. You then have to climb over the pulpit to go ashore. If this is beyond your physical ability you need the boat-handling ability to go in backwards. I'd rather climb....

Or you could ask if there's a pontoon berth available.

The electric tree was locked but Stuart came over to unlock it when we asked. Sarah in the office was brilliant and the heads and showers were fantastic - the best I've encountered anywhere. Bit of a trek from the berth though.
Bosham and Dell Quay
Written by Tyro Sailor | 25th Jul 2021
In June '21 I spent a pleasant few days in Chichester Harbour including a night each at Bosham and Dell Quay.

At Bosham you moor to piles on the quay with long lines, and a fender board which the v helpful (lady) harbourmaster provided. £20 or so overnight if I remember correctly. Dries to softish mud, contrary to Mr Cunliffe's advice. No harbour facilities but a friendly sailing club with excellent heads and showers, open from 0830. Good beer in the bar. Local yoofs making a noise on the quay and nearby village green till quite late.
No food supplies in the village but three sources of ice cream (the one next to the craft shop is best) and pleasant walks including a causeway across the creek at LW.

At Dell Quay the (free) visitors' buoy was occupied but a committee member invited me to tie up on the sailing club pontoon. Also free, but heads and showers in the clubhouse only available when it's open. Dries to gravel and firm mud so I was able to change my shaft anode but it'd be grossly irresponsible to scrub off there. Pleasant walk right up the E edge of the channel to Fishbourne. Pub/restaurant within a stone's throw but beyond my means.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 6th Mar 2020
These notes were reviewed in early March. Birdham has added new pontoons and both they and Chichester have increased their prices. New Chart has been added and we have uploaded the new pontoon plan for Birdham
Chichester Marina (Premier Marinas) fuel sales to Premier customers only
Written by SAAH | 25th Feb 2019
In February 2019 Premier Marinas announced that to reduce lock congestion as from 14th March 2019 they will only sell fuel to Premier customers and so decrease casual lock traffic, leaving more capacity for berth holders.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson | 15th Mar 2018
Birdham no longer does fuel. Chichester has held it's visitor rates for another year
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 18th Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. Thanks "Twohoots" for the useful info on Birdham Pool. There has been little in the way of change here and the prices have been updated for the 2016 season.
Birdham Pool
Written by TwoHoots | 6th Sep 2014
Birdham Pool lock is operated on demand and except at the very busiest of times there is no need to queue. However, when approaching up the channel you cannot see whether the lock is occupied until you round the last pile. In our experience the lock keeper will notice arriving boats very quickly and open the gates as soon as he can. The longest we have had to wait for the lock (summer 2014) is 10 minutes and there are two options. The first is to wait on the north side of the channel, but the soft mud banks are steep and it is quite easy to touch. The alternative is the south side where there is a timber jetty projecting into the channel from the ancient tide mill - this is shown on the Birdham Pool chartlet at and you can see it on Google maps satellite view. If the wind has any south in it a line round one of the posts on the jetty is all you need, but in other wind directions you will be blown against the jetty legs so a fender plank is helpful unless you are half an hour either side of full tide in which case you can fender off the timber rail at the top of the jetty.

The diesel and petrol pumps are at the lock and accessible from inside the lock itself or from the very small channel on the north side. If you need fuel and there is no boat waiting to take your place in the lock it's a good plan to fill up on arrival because boats are discouraged from occupying the lock merely for refuelling.

Birdham Pool itself is an amazing time-warp. There are traditional boatbuilders in the yard and there are always classic wooden vessels to be seen. But the showers and toilets are very up-to-date!
3 of 3 people found this helpful
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 7th Apr 2014
These notes were updated April 2014 and the prices changed for the 2014 season
January 2013 update
Written by dononshytalk | 10th Jan 2013
Chichester Harbour Eastern Sector was updated by Don T on 10th January 2013. Prices will go up at the two Marinas (see text), as do the harbour dues for the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Area, and Chichester Marina is improving its facilities
3 of 3 people found this helpful
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