England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes
Boat
Maintenance
Comfort
Operations
Safety
Other



NextPrevious

Littlehampton

Tides and tools
Overview





Littlehampton is a small commercial and yachting centre on the mouth of the River Arun. It is situated on the southeast coast of England, about ten miles north-eastward of Selsey Bill. The small harbour offers a town quay pontoon, where most vessels can lie afloat, and for those that take t the mud the drying pontoon berths of a club or marina.

Littlehampton offers good protection but will be uncomfortable in any developed south-easterly conditions that send a swell up the harbour. For those that take to the mud, the upriver marina offers complete protection. Access is straightforward night or day but navigation is limited by a bar that fronts the entrance and dries to nearly a metre. Newcomers should plan to arrive a couple of hours before high water and no later than an hour after. Do not attempt entrance in strong onshore winds. Overfalls and breaking seas can occur on the bar during a spring ebb in wind conditions of force 5 between southeast and southwest. The harbour may be rendered completely inaccessible during anything stronger coming from the southeast.



Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for Littlehampton
Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapWaste disposal bins availableShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large city

Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 6 or more from ESE, SE, SSE, S, SSW and SW.Restriction: may be subject to a sand barNote: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
1.9 metres (6.23 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
October 12th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water hosepipe available alongsideWater available via tapWaste disposal bins availableShop with basic provisions availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableExtensive shopping available in the areaSlipway availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the areaCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableDoctor or hospital in the areaPharmacy in the areaScrubbing posts or a place where a vessel can dry out for a scrub below the waterlineMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesBus service available in the areaTrain or tram service available in the areaBicycle hire available in the areaShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
Marina or pontoon berthing facilitiesBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsQuick and easy access from open waterNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseUrban nature,  anything from a small town of more 5,000 inhabitants  to a large city

Considerations
Dangerous to enter when it is Beaufort force 6 or more from ESE, SE, SSE, S, SSW and SW.Restriction: may be subject to a sand barNote: harbour fees may be charged



HM  +44 1903 721215     Marina +44 1903 713553     littlehampton.org.uk/      Ch.71
Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

50° 47.882' N, 000° 32.459' W

This is the head of the West Pier that consists of a large 'cage' of piles and exhibits a light Q.R.7m6M.

What is the initial fix?

The following Littlehampton initial fix will set up a final approach:
50° 46.116' N, 000° 32.047' W
A position ¾ of a mile south by southeast of the harbour entrance on the alignment 346 of the alignment that leads to the harbour entrance.


What are the key points of the approach?

Approach details may found in southeast England’s Coastal Overview for North Foreland to the Isle of Wight Route location

  • The approach dries to about ⅓ of a mile southward of entrance and it reaches its highest drying height, of 0.9 metres CD, on the entrance leading line about 70 metres southeast of the pierhead.

  • The best time for a newcomer should arrive is from High Water -2 to +1 hour.

  • In addition to the bar, be aware that the spring ebb stream of the River Arun runs hard and a cross-set will be experienced in the narrows of the approach channel.

  • Bring the leading lights into line on a bearing of 346º T of a front black steel column, F.G.6m7M, on the eastern side of the East Pier with a white concrete lighthouse, 0c.WY.7.5s9m10M, at the root of the pier.

  • In all cases call the Harbour Master on VHF 71 prior to any approach on the harbour.



Not what you need?
Try our Advanced Havens Search tool to find locations with the specific attributes you need, or click the 'Next', coastal clockwise, or 'Previous', coastal anti-clockwise, buttons to progress through neighbouring havens. Below are the ten nearest havens to Littlehampton for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Dell Quay - 6.5 miles W
  2. Chichester Marina - 6.7 miles W
  3. Birdham Pool Marina - 6.8 miles W
  4. Shoreham - 7 miles E
  5. Bosham - 7.6 miles W
  6. Itchenor - 7.7 miles W
  7. Chalkdock Point - 7.9 miles W
  8. Pilsey Island - 8.6 miles W
  9. East Head - 8.7 miles W
  10. Thornham Marina - 8.9 miles W
Ten nearest havens by straight line distance
  1. Dell Quay - 6.5 miles W
  2. Chichester Marina - 6.7 miles W
  3. Birdham Pool Marina - 6.8 miles W
  4. Shoreham - 7 miles E
  5. Bosham - 7.6 miles W
  6. Itchenor - 7.7 miles W
  7. Chalkdock Point - 7.9 miles W
  8. Pilsey Island - 8.6 miles W
  9. East Head - 8.7 miles W
  10. Thornham Marina - 8.9 miles W
Alternatively the above can be ordered by compass direction or coastal sequence


Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

Expand to new tab or fullscreen



How to get in?
Littlehampton
Image: Michael Harpur


Littlehampton is a small resort town and harbour located on a coastal plain where the River Arun empties into the sea. The harbour is formed by the lower reaches of the River Arun with its mouth fronted by two pile piers, the western and more substantial of which extends 300 metres to seaward. At low water, the sands dry off the harbour entrance up to a ½ mile offshore. Within the harbour area, the eastern side is fronted by a town quay and the opposite bank is occupied by the pontoons and berths of sailing clubs. The town is located almost entirely on the east side of the river and is centred about a mile north of the entrance.

Access to the harbour is limited by a bar that fronts the entrance. The approach dries to about ⅓ of a mile southward of the head of the West Pier and it reaches its highest drying height, of 0.9 metres CD, on the entrance leading line about 70 metres southeast of the pierhead. The channel above this also continues to dry, or be very shallow, until abreast of the East Pier where depths of 1.5 to 2 metres will be found.

It is best that a newcomer should arrive from High Water -2 to +1 hour. The depth of water covering the bar can be calculated by tide gauges situated on the head of the West Pier, the head of the East Pier and at Town Quay within the harbour. When approaching the harbour the gauge on the west pierhead can be read from seaward with the use of binoculars. Tide boards are metric, marked in units of 20 centimetres above CD and coloured white, red, black, red, black. Simply deduct 0.9 from the height of water indicated on the gauge allowing a sensible consideration for swell over the bar.

In addition to the bar, visitors should be aware that the spring ebb stream of the River Arun runs hard, from 3-5 knots, in the narrows of the approach channel.

The commercial port can accommodate vessels up to a length of 70 metres with 1.9 metres being the least water to lie afloat at Town Quay. In all cases Call HM on VHF 71 to make arrangments prior to any approach on the harbour - alternatively available by P: +44 1903 721215, or M: +44 7775 743078.


Yacht alongside Littlehampton Town Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Arun Yacht Club Ltd can accommodate yachts, but not motorboats, that can take to the mud alongside a spare pontoon. Office P: +44 1903 716016, Bar P: +44 1903 714533 E: secretary@arunyc.co.uk It may also be worth contacting Littlehampton Yacht Club Ltd on a busy weekend as they may also be able to accommodate a vessel. Berthing master is Mark Taylor, LYC T: +44 1903 732 926, M: +44 7581 568 999.


Arun Yacht Club
Image: Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Marina, on the west bank of the river about a mile upstream, P: +44 1903 713553, Monday - Friday: 8 am - 5 pm, Saturday - Sunday: 9 am - 5 pm, accommodates motorboats and yachts that can take to the mud. During the summer months, it will be beneficial to call ahead. High airdraft vessels will require a bridge lift to access Littlehampton Marina. It is opened by request to the Harbour Office before 16:30 the previous day - details below.

When the harbour Pilot boat displays a white over red flag by day, or exhibits a white over a red light by night, a large ship is moving and all boats must keep clear of the entrance. Contact the Harbour Master for advice.


Convergance Point Offshore details are available in the southeast England’s Coastal Overview for North Foreland to the Isle of Wight Route location. The entire coast between Bogner Regis and Shoreham is fronted by an area consisting of foul ground, rocks, and shoals. From Bogner Regis to Littlehampton the shore consists of a shingle beach with numerous groins. From Shoreham, the towns of Lancing, Worthing, and Goring by Sea stand along the shore, with no break between them. Keeping at least two miles offshore or more from either direction clears all outlying dangers.


Leading lights on East Pier Head (note the rips of the ebb tide)
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix bring the leading lights into line on a bearing of 346º T. These comprise a front black steel column, F.G.6m7M, on the eastern side and close to the head of the East Pier. This in line with a white concrete lighthouse, 0c.WY.7.5s9m10M, located about 70 metres behind at the root of the pier provides the leading line of 346º T.


West Pier and the low training wall as seen from the head of the East Pier
Image: Michael Harpur


The harbour entrance, which is formed by West Pier and a low training wall that extends from the East Pier and covers at half tide. A starboard light beacon, Q.G.5m6M, marks the head of the training wall from which seven starboard iron posts, with diamond topmarks, trace its path to the head of the East Pier.


Town Quay left with Arun Yacht Club pontoons and clubhouse opposite
Image: Michael Harpur


When abeam of the head of the West Pier the best water will be found by steering a course that favours the east side of the fairway. This also allows for the effect of a strong westerly tidal set over the training wall, from 2 hours before to 4 hours after high water. This stream will be particularly strong off the head of East Pier during the rise. The entrance here is 33 metres wide.


The view up the harbour from the head of the East Pier
Image: Michael Harpur


Once past the head of the East Pier, the flashing green light on Fisherman’s Quay leads upstream, Fl.G.3s4m5M. The best water is found keeping to the east or starboard side of mid-channel. The outer ends of some the Yacht Club pontoons, on the west bank, are lit Q.R. There is a speed limit over the ground of 6½ kn in the river and a speed camera that enforces it - with a hefty fine.


Littlehampton Town Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location The Town Quay, in front of HM's office, provides berths alongside a pontoon with least depths varying between 1.4 metres to 1.9 metres.

The friendly Arun Yacht Club welcomes visiting yachts that can take to the mud on their spare marina berths - no visiting motorboats. It is advisable to make arrangments in advance P: +44 1903 716016 or VHF Ch 37 which is only manned when the club is active, berthing master number as above.


Arun Yacht Club across the river from the Town Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


A swing footbridge crosses the river a ⅓ of a mile upriver from the town Quay. When open it has a navigation span of 22 metres and the channel is marked by lights on either side, (vert) 2F.R & (vert) 2F.G, and it also has a tide gauge. When closed the vertical clearance is a HAT of 3.6 metres. Requests for an opening must be made to the Harbour Office before 1630 the preceding day, but not on Sundays or Bank Holidays.


Littlehampton Swing Bridge
Image: Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Marina will be found to port above the footbridge on the west bank and it welcomes motorboats. Littlehampton Marina may be contacted on P:+44 1903 713553, VHF 80, 37.
Littlehampton Marina on the west bank of the river above the footbridge
Image: Michael Harpur


In offshore winds vessels that can take to the ground may anchor nearer the harbour entrance, clear of the leading line according to conditions.


Littlehampton Marina
Image: Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Harbour is a gateway to the River Arun valley. Above Littlehampton Marina, the River Arun is navigable on the tide by small, unmasted craft for 24 miles. Vessels of less than 23 metres in length and draught 1.8 metres can navigate as far as Arundel, 3 miles north of Littlehampton. There is a fixed road bridge, vertical clearance 3.6 metres, 800 metres above the footbridge and a rail bridge, vertical clearance 3.0 metres at Ford midway between Arundel and Littlehampton. It is not advisable to lie aground at Arundel due to the steep slope of the river banks. Dinghies can get to Amberley.

The recently installed pontoon in the centre of Arundel provides an excellent berthing facility. Call the Edible Sandwich Company P: +44 1903 885969 in advance and a member of staff will open the gate.


Coming alongside at Arundel
Image: Rob Sinclair via CC BY-SA 2.0


Tidal differences on the river are +25 minutes at Ford, +50 minutes at Arundel, +1 hour 30 minutes at Houghton Bridge and +4 hours at Pulburough. In view of these tidal differences, to make the best of your time, leave Littlehampton one hour before high water and transit upriver on the flood stream. This will give you an hour in the Old Swan at Pulborough before you must depart Littlehampton. Delaying your return will increase the risk of grounding in the shallow areas.

Tide gauges are situated at Littlehampton on the West Pier, Speedboat Steps, the Scrubbing Piles, Town Quay, the footbridge and Railway Wharf. There are also gauges at Arundel between the two road bridges, adjacent to Houghton Bridge, at Greatham Road Bridge, the Old Swan Bridge and Stopham Road Bridge.
Please note

Littlehampton tide gauges are set to Littlehampton Chart Datum and all others to Ordnance Datum.




Why visit here?
Littlehampton, was first recorded as Hantone in Doomsday, 1086. The name is derived from the Old English words hám-tún meaning 'home farm or homestead'.

Traces of human settlement can be traced back to prehistoric and Roman times, and Domesday recorded the area as having a small hamlet. That settlement is believed to have been a small fishing community as was also evidenced by its appearance as 'Hanton' on a 12th-century French map. By the late 11th or early 12th-century Hantone had its own church and its rectors were recorded from 1294 to 1353 after the Conquest when it had been appropriated by Sées abbey in Normandy. The monks owned the area until around 1400 when the Hundred Years’ War forced them to abandon it. But its importance was set to grow in the next century largely thanks to the coming of the river.

Until then the River Arun joined the River Adur at Lancing from which it continued to empty itself into the sea. Over time the estuary became blocked by shingle deposited by longshore drift. This pushed the River Adur further east towards Shoreham and caused the River Arun to break its own way through to the sea. This happened first at Worthing and then it moved west to Goring and Ferring, before it finally came to settle at Littlehampton. The development of the river caused the area to be used as a port which leads to it being first recorded as Lyttelhampton in 1482. The addition of the leading prefix of 'Little' is believed to have been used to distinguish it, along with its shallow entrance, from the larger and deeper port of Southampton further along the coast.


1880 depiction of Arundel Castle
Image: CC0


There is, however, no evidence that Littlehampton was a port of any significance in the medieval period. Nearby Arundel, pleasantly situated about six miles upstream on a slope of a hill above the river, functioned as the chief port of the River Arun. The town, with Arundel Castle on the rise above guarding the passage along the river through the hills, remained the primary port in the 16th and 17th centuries.


Arundel's old town main street
Image: Elisa Rolle via CC BY-SA 4.0


A busy shipbuilding industry developed alongside this river trade. It appears, from a poem in Hakluyt's Collection called ‘The Policie of Keeping the Sea,’ that Littlehampton was the port at which Henry VIII built ‘his great Dromions which passed other great shippes of the commons’. The ‘dromion, dromon, or dromedary’ was a large warship, the prototype of which was furnished by the Saracens. Shipbuilding saw its seminal years in the area during the early 1800s when fishing boats, merchant ships and small warships were all built here. At times in the past at least one in five men in Littlehampton worked in a job connected with shipping, either building them or as sailors.


The original wooden pier with its 'Salt & Pepper Pots' alignment markers
Image: CC0
It would be during the late 17th century when the first evidence of significant maritime activity would show itself at Littlehampton itself. Boats and ships moored south of the village in the east-west part of the river deflected by the shingle spit in the late 17th and early 18th-centuries. At the time the shingle spit was comparatively modest but it restricted the access depth outside of spring tides to be less than 2 metres at high water. During this time ships of 60 tons could still use the harbour at Littlehampton to offload and load cargoes. The stationing of customs officers in the village of Littlehampton in the late 17th century reflected the new adoption of the river mouth.


Ship leaving the harbour in the later 1800s
Image: CC0
In 1735 the expansion of port activities led to a new channel being cut through the spit with flanking piers extended into the sea. The harbour was deepened to 4 metres, and a 45-metre wide wooden quay was built together with an access causeway. At this time Littlehampton was also known as Arundel Port. From about 1790 there was a vast improvement of the navigation upriver of Arundel which culminated in the opening of the Wey & Arun navigation in 1816 providing a through route to London. It was this development that finally shifted the cargo emphasis to Littlehampton Quay because it was easier to unload cargo to be transferred upriver, between coastal vessels and river barges, at the river mouth.


Most of the cargo taken along the river was coal and corn going towards Midhurst and Petworth marble going down to the coast. By 1824, Littlehampton had eclipsed Arundel, and handled 80% of the tonnage, although at least half of this was simply transferred to barges to pass upriver. Although never a major port, Littlehampton ships and seafarers sailed all over the world, and the harbour was visited regularly by ships carrying coal from north-east England and cargoes of timber from the Baltic.


The present-day West Pier
Image: Dave Croker via CC BY-SA 2.0


As the 18th-century progressed, the town developed to being a holiday destination which had Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Constable as some of its most notable visitors. In the following century, the tourist potential of the harbour was further exploited with a railway line and a cross-channel ferry to Honfleur in France being added. These dual economic mainstays, the railway and changes in coastal shipping, lead Littlehampton finally completely superseding Arundel as the port of the River Arun.

Littlehampton beach huts
Image: audi_insperation


Littlehampton Harbour Commissioners are still responsible for the river up to Arundel today, collecting tolls for its use. The port is very much reduced today but as a tourist and leisure destination, it is a vital resource along this coast. With its emphasis turning more towards leisure users The Harbour Authorities actively welcome visiting yachts and motorboats.


View south from the Town Quay berths
Image: Dave Croker via CC BY-SA 2.0


From a visitor perspective, it offers the coastal cruiser a wonderful location to visit. Harbour dues are relatively moderate and the Town Quay berths, adjacent to the harbour office, are excellent. All the facilities of the town are immediate to hand which makes it a useful provisioning place for westbound boats intending to visit the nature reserves that are Chichester and Langstone Harbours. It is also a gateway to the River Arun and its valley where it is possible to travel upriver for a distance of 20 miles even be it by dinghy. The harbour offers complete protection from all offshore conditions and for all conditions above the swing bridge in the mud of the marina.


What facilities are available?
Water and power on the pontoon, showers and facilities immediately above in the harbour office. The town has a well-stocked chandlery and a range of boating services the include rigging work and general engineering. Bike hire is available at the marina.

A public slipway is sited on the eastern side of the harbour off Surrey Street and is adjacent to the RNLI station. There is no charge for the use of the slipway but mariners must ensure those harbour dues are paid before they go afloat. There is a public car park with trailer parking bay.

Littlehampton has all the services that you would expect from a town of 30,000. There is a choice of chemists, two supermarkets, a post office, several banks and a host of bars and restaurants. The town also has a large range of independent shops and retailers.

Littlehampton is served by three railway stations, Littlehampton railway station, Angmering railway station and Ford railway station. Trains services from Littlehampton railway station are provided by Southern and occasionally First Great Western, with direct services to Brighton, London Victoria, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, Bognor Regis, Chichester, Portsmouth and Southampton.

Littlehampton has a large number of bus routes from several bus companies. The bus station at Littlehampton handles anything up to 1,000 passengers a day and over 200 buses.

The Littlehampton Ferry links the east and west parts of the River Arun together. The Ferry operates from 31 March to 30 September between 10 am and 5 pm. The Ferry Company also provide harbour tours on the hour.

Gatwick Airport is an hour away to the north, Southampton Airport is an hour and a half away to the west, Chichester Airport is 30 minutes also to the west and Shoreham Airport is 45 minutes to the east. The port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel about three hours to the east; Portsmouth Harbour an hour to the west and Newhaven Harbour about an hour to the east.

Littlehampton also has a large number of taxis, with taxi ranks all over the town and four different taxi companies.


With thanks to:
eOceanic.


Expand to new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.




Littlehampton, Sussex, England
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Town Quay
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Harbour Office above Town Quay
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Look & Sea and the Harbour Lights Cafe
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Arun Yacht Club across the river from the Town Quay
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Arun Yacht Club
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Tide gauge in the harbour area
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Swing Bridge
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Pedestrian view of the swing bridge
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Marina
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Littlehampton Marina's 'The Boat House'
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur


Hauling out at Littlehampton Marina
Image: eOceanic thanks Michael Harpur

A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this haven.



Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.