24 Jul2018

Hamble River dinghy safari

Take your dinghy or canoe for a river safari

a family taking part in the Parker Seal summer rally dinghy safari
Parker Seal summer rally dinghy safari picnic on the banks of the River Hamble

Leave the crowds behind

If you plan your tides properly, it is possible to take dinghies and canoes all the way up the River Hamble to Botley and up the River Cur to the Horse and Jockey at Curbridge. This is a great navigational exercise, as you'll be left high and dry if you get your sums wrong or dawdle too slowly.

The photos on this page are by the Parker and Seal Sailing Association, who stayed at Deacons Marina in May and voyaged-up the river in ten dinghies - 17 adults, four children and a dog.

Taking advantage of a big (4.7m) spring tide, the group passed under the three bridges at Bursledon - A27, railway and M27 - into the peaceful upper reaches of the River Hamble. Beyond the bridges the river regains its green mantle - there is little evidence of urbanisation and trees crowd the banks.

The river passes the River Hamble Country Park on the west bank, with a pontoon at Manor Farm and areas where you can pull the dinghy ashore and stretch your legs. The country park is a popular spot for walkers and families and has a historic farm which is worth a visit, probably best by car though.

Above the country park, the river splits, with the Hamble being the western branch going to the market town of Botley. The river is 'navigable' here to Botley Parish Quay, and you may have time for a quick wander ashore if you watch the time carefully. The left branch of the river is the Cur, which is navigable to the Horse & Jockey pub at Curdbridge - a swift pint is a prize well-earned.

More reading - Yachting Monthly has a good article on exploring the river.

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