Centrally located in the Solent, the River Hamble is home to thousands of private cruising and racing yachts, and is a popular starting location for many cruising adventures.
Hamble Cruising Guide
Centrally located in the Solent, the River Hamble is home to thousands of yachts and is a popular starting location for many cruising adventures. As you might expect you will find a huge range of businesses the length and breadth of the river supporting every aspect of the British marine industry.
It is also home to Ancasta’s Head Office in Port Hamble.
Discover Hamble River
Whilst the River Hamble has been a focal point for the modern marine industry for many years, it’s history is often overlooked or little talked about.
As you travel up the river, this short guide will help you enjoy the present but also encourage you to take a look into the past, beyond the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Earliest records of activity on the River Hamble date back to the Monks at Bishop Waltham who used to set sail from the River Hamble for the Mediterranean and the Middle East from around 720.
In 877 it is recorded that three Viking ships sunk after taking shelter in the river from a storm. Pirates existed in Hamble around 1572 and a fishing fleet existed from 1606. There are also remains of an Iron Age settlement as well as a Napoleonic gun battery.
At the entrance of the river, Warsash Maritime Academy, now part of Southampton Solent University, is a prominent building on the right. The academy provides education & training services to the international shipping, commercial yacht, offshore oil, gas and renewable industries.
Whilst boat building works were focused at the top of the river in Bursledon from the early 1300’s, it was not until 1807 when the first boat yard opened at Warsash. This was helped in the main by the new bridge as workers were able to walk around from Bursledon.
Warsash is derived from Warish Asse Feld after donkeys were turned out to graze along the river banks following the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. Warsash is now home to the River Hamble Harbour Authority who manage all aspects of the river from the conspicuous black and white building. There are a number of mid stream visitors moorings available as well as a walk ashore pontoon, which also offers a waste pump out facility.
There are three pubs, The Rising Sun on the shore front, The Ferryman and the Silver Fern, along with a number of restaurants. Warsash Sailing Club which, whilst a members club, welcomes visiting yachtsmen and plays host to the annual early season sailing regatta “The Warsash Spring Series”.
The earliest evidence of a river crossing between Warsash and Hamble goes back to 1493 and in 1606 you would be charged 1/2d for a pedestrian and 1d for a horse to cross the river. The ferry has a long association with the Bugle Pub, in 2002 it was painted pink and can be seen regularly ferrying passengers across the river.
If you are looking to stretch your legs, there is a beautiful walk along a gravelled pathway that can take you from Warsash all the way round to Bursledon.
Opposite Warsash is Hamble Point Marina one of three marinas operated by MDL (Marina Developments Ltd), the others being at Port Hamble and Mercury Yacht Harbour. The marina is fully serviced with visitors berths available and a bar and restaurant on site. It is approximately 1 mile into the centre of Hamble Village.
During the War, Hamble and the surrounding area played a major part in the war effort. It was home to an aircraft training centre and the river was full of landing craft prior to the D Day Landings in 1944.
With the war over, the first mooring piles were driven into the river in 1950, hard now to imagine a river without the thousands of leisure craft we see today.
Hamble Village itself is very picturesque with quaint cobbled streets and a variety of restaurants and bars. Port Hamble Marina is located centrally in the village with plenty of visitors berths and a fuel pontoon
About the author
Written by Chris Warwick, Universal Yachting Ltd. Based on the River Hamble, Universal Yachting manage a fleet of yachts for private owners. Some of which are offered for charter and are available for a range of sailing activities. Half day and day sailing for individuals or groups as well as weekend bareboat and skippered charter. Full range of RYA Practical Training Courses offered including own boat tuition. Contact them on: T: 01243 697274 E: [email protected]. www.universalyachting.com