Situated on the coast in the Western Solent this is a tolerable anchorage in settled conditions, just out of the full run of the current. Access is straightforward in almost all states of the tide, night or day.
Keyfacts for Newtown River Entrance
Summary* Restrictions applyA tolerable location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position50° 43.605' N, 001° 24.800' W
This is in about two metres immediately west of the 130°T alinement of the leading beacons for Newtown River. The front beacon is a post with a red/white banded 'Y' top mark; the rear a beacon with a white disk with red circle top mark.
What are the key points of the approach?
The Solent and Isle of Wight Coastal Overview. Entry and final approaches are available in the Newtown River entry.
Not what you need?
- Newtown River - 0.3 nautical miles SE
- Thorness Bay - 2.1 nautical miles ENE
- Gull Island - 3.3 nautical miles NNE
- Gins Farm - 3.5 nautical miles N
- Yarmouth - 3.5 nautical miles WSW
- Buckler's Hard - 4.4 nautical miles N
- Lymington - 4.5 nautical miles WNW
- Lymington Yacht Haven - 4.5 nautical miles WNW
- Berthon Lymington Marina - 4.8 nautical miles WNW
- Newport - 4.8 nautical miles ESE
How to get in?
Newtown River, also referred to as Newtown Creek or Newtown Harbour, is a large natural inland harbour located on the Isle of Wight's northwestern coast. This anchorage lies on the eastern edge of the rivers’ approach path.
Come in on the 130°T alignment of the leading beacons; the front beacon is a post with a red/white banded 'Y' top mark; the rear a beacon with a white disk with red circle top mark as described in the the Newtown River entry. Break off to anchor off Hamstead Beach as preferred.
Anchor according to draft and conditions. Do not venture far from the approach path as the area shelves very quickly and dries out 270 metres from the Hamstead shoreline.
Land by tender on Hamstead’s shale beach or within the Newtown River entrance at Hamstead Quay that is accessible at all states of the tide except at low water Springs. Those venturing further in will find Newtown Quay is only accessible three hours either side of high water and Shalfleet Quay dries beyond its head 1.5 hours either side of LW springs.
Why visit here?The areas Hamstead name originates from the Old English Hamstede meaning homestead. It is thought that the name comes from Hamstead Farm situated about 1.5km in from the shore on the hillside overlooking the estuary. The farm is believed to have had humble medieval origins but seems to have been raised to some standing in the 19th century when it was listed as being a 'mansion' with a walled garden.
Hamstead Point is a beautiful headland that has remained virtually untouched to this day. It was called into service during World War II, and a short walk along its shingle beach to Hampstead Point will show some evidence of the activity. Around the headland, just east of where Hamstead Ledge steps out, there is a very unusual large concrete ramp running down into the water at high water level. The ramp was once the site of a depot for the Western Solent antisubmarine barrier or boom. The barrier stretched between Hamstead Point and Sowley on the mainland and had a corresponding Eastern Solent barrier that stretched from Seaview across to Southsea, via the two sea forts. The barriers were made up of a line of iron girders, driven into the sea bed at intervals to create a physical barrier with nets between then in deeper waters. The primary function of the barriers was to prevent submarines slipping through but the shallow water posts also prevented fast attack craft, such as E-boats, from getting through by fringing the shores. The flotation buoys were most likely launched from the Hamstead Point ramp and there was an observation post monitoring the boom from the cliff above. The ramp was also used as a launching point for amphibious craft trials and tank landing practice. Inshore from the depot was one of the Isle of Wight's ten heavy anti-aircraft sites. Though little sign of it remains today in its time it was equipped with four 3.7 inch guns and a Bofors gun under the command of the 35th Anti-Aircraft Brigade.
All this is very far from Hampstead experienced today. Ashore, those with family will enjoy the shingle beach with its tree line providing ample protection from the prevailing winds. The shingle beach makes an excellent place to land and have a barbecue whilst overlooking the yacht on anchor with the Western Solent as backdrop.
Walkers will find Hamstead Point an excellent location to pick up on two major island walks, the Hampstead Trail and Cowes to Yarmouth coastal path. The Hampstead walk traverses the Island from north to south, passing alongside salt water marshes and over downland (full walk 7mi /12 km/3 hours one way). Likewise the Cowes to Yarmouth coastal walk passes along the coast here (full walk 16mi /26 km/16 hours one way). It runs significantly inland around the Newtown River estuary and the firing range, rejoining the frontage at Thorness Bay.
From a sailing perspective this location offers a highly convenient anchorage for a lunch stop, tide wait and, in settled conditions, overnight stay. Its main advantage is the protection afforded by Hampstead Ledge, and to some extent the Newtown Gravel Banks, from the very strong Western Solent currents. This makes it the better of the two Western Solent coastal anchorages, the other being Salt Mead to the eastward, which are not excessively tide rode.
What facilities are available?There are no facilities off this remote beach.
Any security concerns?Never an issue known to have occurred to a vessel visiting Newtown River.
With thanks to:Davie Flannagan, Newtown River Harbour Master. Photography Michael Harpur.
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