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



NextPrevious

Bull's Porth

Tides and tools
Overview





Bull's Porth is remote bay on the northeast end of St Martin’s Isle, Scilly. It offers an anchorage in a remote and sequestered location.

The deep bay provides good shelter from east round through south to west. Attentive daylight navigation with good visibility is necessary to make any approach as outlying ledges need circumvention. It can be accessed at any stage of the tide but the ideal time to enter is at half-tide or lower when its primary hazard is visible.



Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for Bull's Porth
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open water

Considerations
None listed

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
5 metres (16.4 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
December 2nd 2019

Summary

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open water

Considerations
None listed



Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

49° 57.954' N, 006° 16.578' W

This is on the 5-metre contour in the centre of the bay.

What is the initial fix?

The following Bread & Cheese Cove Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
49° 58.626' N, 006° 16.409' W
This is on the charted alignment of Round Island Lighthouse with Chad Carn (24 metres high on White Island) on 273.5° to safely pass Deep Ledges. It is ½ mile northward of the bay.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern England’s coastal overview from Land's End to Isles of Scilly Route location and Bread & Cheese Cove Click to view haven provides local approaches.

  • 400 metres north of Murr Rocks steer for the centre of Bulls Porth situated to the west of Burnt Hill the eastern promontory of the adjacent Bread & Cheese Cove.

  • Pass into the centre between Santamana Ledges and Murr Rock.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Bull's Porth for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Bread & Cheese Cove - 0.1 miles E
  2. Higher Town Bay - 0.3 miles SSW
  3. Perpitch - 0.3 miles SE
  4. Tean Sound - 0.7 miles W
  5. St Helen's Pool - 1.2 miles W
  6. Windmill Cove - 1.3 miles S
  7. Old Grimsby - 1.3 miles W
  8. New Grimsby - 1.8 miles W
  9. Green Bay - 1.8 miles WSW
  10. St Mary's Pool - 2 miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Bread & Cheese Cove - 0.1 miles E
  2. Higher Town Bay - 0.3 miles SSW
  3. Perpitch - 0.3 miles SE
  4. Tean Sound - 0.7 miles W
  5. St Helen's Pool - 1.2 miles W
  6. Windmill Cove - 1.3 miles S
  7. Old Grimsby - 1.3 miles W
  8. New Grimsby - 1.8 miles W
  9. Green Bay - 1.8 miles WSW
  10. St Mary's Pool - 2 miles SSW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search

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



What's the story here?
Bull's Porth
Image: Michael Harpur


Bull's Porth is north-facing bay between Turfy Hill on the west and the Burnt Hill promontory to the east. It lies adjacent and close west to Bread and Cheese Cove that is overlooked by St Martin's daymark. Similar to Bread and Cheese Cove the bay offers a well-protected deep water anchorage but over a sandy bottom and the cliffs at the back of Bull Cove are higher. A visiting boat will most likely have the cove to itself as this is very much off the beaten path in a remote and undeveloped part of the island.


How to get in?
Bull's Porth is entered between Murr Rock and Santamana Ledges
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Land's End to Isles of Scilly Route location for regional approaches and Bread & Cheese Cove Click to view haven for final approaches.

When 400 metres north of Murr Rocks it is then safe to break off to starboard to pass between Santamana Ledges and Murr Rock. Located northward of Bull's Porth and northeast of Turfy Hill Point, Santamana Ledges usually shows as it dries to 4.9 metres. Keep centre, or east of centre, of the bay as it has rocky shores with some outliers on its western side.


Haven location Anchor according to draft and conditions. It is possible to land by tender on the stony beach of Bull's Porth, in the southwest corner, but it is full of boulders. Other landing possibilities are the sandy beach of Bread and Cheese Cove, to the east, or the long sandy expanse of Saint Martin's Bay to the west. If the great sweep of the sparkling white sand, arguably Scilly’s finest beach, prooves too inviting to resist as an anchorage, Bull’s Porth provides the ideal stepping stone.


The primary rocks of Saint Martin's Bay can be seen from Bull's Porth
Image: Michael Harpur


Great Bay requires some careful navigation between many rocky banks and awaiting low water in Bull’s Porth allows its hazards to expose and be seen. The visible islands of the Mackerel Rocks, 4.1 and 7 metres high, and Great Merrick Ledge, islets 1 to 5 metres high set in an expanse of rock that drys to 3.9 metres, can always be seen. But their surrounding ledges and the above Santamana Ledges, that covers and dries to 4.9 metres, and Little Ledge of Mackerel Rocks, that dries 3.6 metres, are better seen at low water. When it comes to anchoring Great Bay has a mixture of sand, rock and weed from 2 to 5 metres and is protected from southeast to south to west.


Why visit here?
The origin of the named Bull's Porth is unknown. Porth in old Cornish means a bay, port or harbour and perhaps the 'Bull' refers to the promontory headland of Burnt Hill which it could be said to resemble. The headland is certainly historically significant as human inhabitation goes back a long way here.


The Burnt Hill Promontory is now believed to be the site of an Iron Age Hill
fort

Image: Michael Harpur


Scilly has the remains of two confirmed Iron Age two cliff castles: Giant’s Castle on St Mary’s, Shipman Head on Bryher. It is now believed that Burnt Hill was the site of a third. A recent review by authorities concluded that although the boulder wall across its neck did not constitute a rampart there is ample other evidence of prehistoric activity that suggested it was a promontory fort. Remains of two low lying roundhouses have been dated to the Iron Age and lines of small standing stones, protruding from the peat immediately outside the promontory between Bull's Porth and Stony Porth, would have demarcated the fort's prehistoric fields. This all fits with the headland being a centre of occupation under a tribal chief as hillforts have come to be seen today as nucleases for socio-economic development or ritual rather than defensive strongholds.


Saint Martin's Bay
Image: Ian Swithinbank via SS BY-SA 2.0


Though very difficult to securely date it is likely that the ruins and field systems can be assigned to the 1st millennium BC. The overall picture is one of an ancient village or settlement that continued throughout this period. People from this time would live in oval or circular houses that would have lasted for centuries, farmed the same small rectilinear fields, used mainly stone tools with similar types of pottery. This lifestyle would have remained essentially unchanged throughout the early Iron Age but saw some changes occurring after 500 BC. From this time onward southwest decorated or Glastonbury wares appeared reflecting greater trading contact with the mainland. There are some caves on the north side of St Martin's that suggested ancient tin-workings took place here.


White Island as seen from Top Rock
Image: John Davey via CC BY-SA 2.0
But since that time, a ridge of granite exposed to all the fury of the Atlantic gales, the rugged weather-beaten northern slopes of St. Martin's have been left to their own to become the coastline that nature intended. Left in secluded tranquillity, one of the widest and most remote in Scilly, it is almost entirely uncultivated and beautiful. The crowning glory of it has to be the adjacent unspoilt white sand beach of Great Bay. The half-mile recess of sparkling white sand backed by grassy dunes ranks as one of the best beaches in Scilly, if not the UK, offering perfect bathing in its shallow turquoise waters. And it should be added that 'sparkling' is no exaggeration here as its sands are partly composed of tiny quartz particles which gives it a pale golden colour and brings it alive in bright sunlight. Yet the magnificent bay scarcely sees more than a handful of families on its pristine sands as most visitors opt for the instantly accessible southern beaches of Lawrence's Bay and Par Beach.

Beyond Great Bay, a tidal causeway links the northwest of the island with lonely uninhabited White Island. Pronounced 'Wit-Island', can be reached across the stony White Island Bar from its furthest tip that only covers at high water. The tidal causeway or isthmus should be avoided when covered as strong currents run across it.

From a sailing point of view, Bull’s Port, similar to Bread & Cheese cove is an important anchorage providing shelter in the event of a southwesterly gale. The sea is that particular shade of turquoise blue and jade green peculiar to Scilly that is highly attractive. It also provides a good staging point to anchor around Burnt Hill in the larger St Martin's or Great Bay.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this remote location.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, 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.



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.