A personal view on the South Coast of England

A personal view on the South Coast of England

A personal view on the
South Coast of England

By John and Trish Carter


The south coast of England from Chichester to Poole is an excellent sailing area with several large natural harbours and the sheltered waters of the Solent and Southampton Water. John and Trish Carter, proud owners of a Najad 380 named Kiera have great knowledge of the area and we are most happy they want to share their gems with us.

Chichester Harbour has two marinas worth visiting. Chichester marina at the north east end of the harbor is entered by a lock. Chichester city is a walk or cycle ride along the canal towpath. The town is famous for its cathedral, Roman remains, Festival theatre and Good- wood motor racing circuit.

There is an anchorage at East Head where you can take the dinghy ashore to a lovely sandy beach, stay for a lovely daytrip, but as it is a little bit exposed it is not an ideal anchorage for an overnight stop.

At the north west corner of this harbour is Northney marina. A walk from here over a road bridge to the mainland, or a dinghy ride above mid-tide, leads to two great waterside pubs – The Ship and The Royal Oak which also happens to be Johns favourite.

Portsmouth harbour has several marinas. Gosport marina is very well-placed and from here you can take the ferry across to Ports- mouth’s hitoric dockyard displaying Henry VIII’s flagship the Mary Rose, Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, and HMS Warrior, the first iron fighting ship. The awe-inspiring Spinnaker tower offers breath-taking views, whilst the retail outlets of Gunwharf Quays are re- nowned.

There are several good marinas on the River Hamble. Port Hamble is close to Hamble Village, and Hamble Point with excellent yacht services and the local Najad team at Boat Sales International.

Going up near the head of Southampton Water, Ocean Village marina is well placed for exploring the city of Southampton.

Isle of Wight
Cowes, on the Isle of Wight is the home of Yacht racing in the UK and a world famous regatta venue and very lively during August.The town is quite small but it is well stocked with marinas and pubs. It also has the largest number of clothing shops for sailors anywhere. Beyond Cowes, further up the river Medina, there are river moorings for the Folly Inn, with live entertainment on Satur- days, where you can dance the night away! Just beyond the Folly Inn is Island Harbour Marina, a quiet place after the bustle of Cowes. From here there is a walk along the River Medina to Newport.

Also on the Isle of Wight is Newtown Creek. This is a peaceful bird sanctuary, where you can pick up a mooring buoy or drop anchor and take a dinghy to Shalfleet Quay, where a 10 minute walk will take you to The New Inn, an old fashioned pub with excellent food.

Two other good anchorages off the Isle of Wight are Osbourne Bay, to the east of Cowes, and Alum Bay near the Needles. Yarmouth has a good selection of restaurants. Salty’s Bar and Seafood Restaurant has live music on Saturdays, and excellent food. The Kings Head is also good.

From Yarmouth there is a walk along the River Yar to Freshwater on the South side of the island where Alfred Lord Tennyson lived.

There is also a walk, or bus ride to the Needles Old Battery, a Victorian Fort with an underground passage leading to spectacular views over the Needles. This was the site of a Cold War rocket-testing site and near here Marconi conducted early radio transmission experiments.

Nearby is a ski chairlift that will take you down to Alum Bay with its famous vertical strata of multi coloured sandstone.

Back on the mainland, Bucklers Hard on the peaceful Beaulieu River was an 18th century shipbuilding village which built three warships that fought at the battle of Trafalgar. The marina there is close to the maritime museum, Master Builder’s House Hotel, and a four km walk along the river will take you to Beaulieu where the National Motor Museum is housed.

Lymington is a pretty, old fashioned town with a cobbled street on the quay with many quirky shops, pubs and restaurants. Berthon Lymington Marina has excellent facilities, including boat building and is well-placed for the town. The town quay moorings are very popular during peak season, so we would recommend other mooring alternatives at this time of the year. On Saturdays there is a large street market. There is a walk or cycle path along the coast through a nature reserve and salt marshes to Keyhaven where a ferry from the quay goes to Hurst Castle which is on the mouth of the Solent. This castle dates from the 16th century and was “modernised” in turn for the Napoleonic wars, the First and the Second World Wars.

The Solent
To the west of the Solent is Poole Harbour with several marinas. Poole Town Quay is most convenient for the town itself, and the nearby Custom House restaurant is very good. On Tuesday evenings there is a large motor- cycle rally with a range of machines from all over the south of England converging on the quayside beside the Marina. This can be very noisy and so you will either love or hate it – There are several award winning beaches nearby. Poole is a good center from which to explore the “Jurassic Coast”. There is a regular bus service to Swanage, where the Heritage Steam Train can be taken to explore the ruins of Corfe Castle.

Just south of Poole is Studland Bay, an ideal anchorage with a village to explore ashore and the Bankes Arms Hotel, an atmospheric pub with great food, with a number of mooring buoys available for visitors.