Top ten alternative British boating bases

Look beyond the typical South coast boating bases and there are plenty of welcoming harbours that offer some delightful experiences

Milford Haven

This magnificent natural harbour at the south-west tip of Wales has many miles of sheltered water to explore.

Inside its rugged entrance, the spectacular Cleddau Valley turns east to provide a deep shipping channel up to Pembroke Dock.

01-Milford-Haven-Dale-01Dale Bay (pictured above) is a popular anchorage near the mouth, where Dale village has a visitor pontoon, a friendly yacht club and the Griffin Inn renowned for its seafood.

The lower Haven is a mile wide and World War II convoys once assembled here before starting across the Atlantic.

Cruising upstream from Dale you pass several long oil tanker jetties and soon Milford Haven town appears on the north shore.

A tidal lock leads into Milford Marina (pictured below), a pleasant billet close to restaurants, pubs and shops.

Four miles further upstream, before a high road bridge, sociable Neyland Yacht Haven lies in a peaceful creek on the north bank.

01-Milford-Marina-02Beyond Neyland, the Cleddau winds inland past farms, woods and sleepy villages in the Pembrokeshire National Park.

A couple of miles above the road bridge, where the Cresswell and Carew Rivers join the Cleddau, Lawrenny Yacht Station is a kind of nautical country and caravan park which has some deep-water moorings and a landing pontoon.

This is a great place to stop for lunch at the Lawrenny Arms or the Quayside tearooms. The Haven offers plenty of memorable boating in almost any weather.

Outside, it’s seven miles north-west to Skomer Island and 18 miles east to amiable Tenby Harbour and the anchorages around Caldey Island. Milford Haven is also well placed for summer cruises to the south coast of Ireland.

Berthing: Milford Marina or Neyland Yacht Haven

Getting there: Milford Haven is 135 miles west from the Bristol M4/M5 interchange and 5-6hrs by rail from London Paddington.

Pilot book: Bristol Channel and River Severn Cruising Guide by Peter Cumberlidge

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