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Green Bay

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Overview





Green Bay lies on the east side of Bryher one of the smaller of the inhabited islands of Scilly. It offers a drying bay that is a perennial favourite for vessels that can take to the bottom.

The bay provides good shelter from south-by-southwest through to north and tolerable protection from all other sectors save developed south easterlies at high water. Lying between the islands of Tresco and Bryher it may be approached from between the islands to the south or from seaward to the north. Both directions require attentive navigation, during daylight, as there are local offlying dangers and no lit marks, with sufficient rise of tide.



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Keyfacts for Green Bay
Facilities
Waste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableShore 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 areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair services


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: rising tide required for accessRestriction: may be subject to a sand barNote: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
-1.2 metres (-3.94 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 11th 2019

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Waste disposal bins availableTop up fuel available in the area via jerry cansShop with basic provisions availableShore 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 areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaMarine engineering services available in the areaRigging services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair services


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinitySet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierRestriction: rising tide required for accessRestriction: may be subject to a sand barNote: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

49° 57.052' N, 006° 20.980' W

This is in the north end of Green Bay in a section that dries to about 1.5 LAT, between the rocks of the shore and Brow Ledge.

What is the initial fix?

The following Green Bay Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
49° 57.168' N, 006° 20.655' W
This is in the Tresco Channel setting up an approach into the northern end of the bay between Merrick Island and the Halftide Bar.


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. Use New Grimsby Click to view haven for a seaward approach from the north.


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 Green Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. New Grimsby - 0.4 miles N
  2. Old Grimsby - 0.6 miles NE
  3. St Helen's Pool - 0.9 miles NE
  4. Tean Sound - 1.2 miles ENE
  5. St Mary's Pool - 1.4 miles SE
  6. Higher Town Bay - 1.7 miles E
  7. Windmill Cove - 1.7 miles ESE
  8. Porth Cressa - 1.8 miles SSE
  9. Bull's Porth - 1.8 miles ENE
  10. Bread & Cheese Cove - 2 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. New Grimsby - 0.4 miles N
  2. Old Grimsby - 0.6 miles NE
  3. St Helen's Pool - 0.9 miles NE
  4. Tean Sound - 1.2 miles ENE
  5. St Mary's Pool - 1.4 miles SE
  6. Higher Town Bay - 1.7 miles E
  7. Windmill Cove - 1.7 miles ESE
  8. Porth Cressa - 1.8 miles SSE
  9. Bull's Porth - 1.8 miles ENE
  10. Bread & Cheese Cove - 2 miles ENE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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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.

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What's the story here?
Green Bay, Bryher, Scilly
Image: Michael Harpur


Green Bay faces Tresco across the shallow waters of the Tresco Channel. It is a wide expanse of fine sand backed by trees and shrubs with a small boatyard at its southern end that offers facilities. The bay immediately north is home to Bryher Village which is the principal settlement of the smallest populated island of the Scilly. This comprises a scattering of houses at its northern end with a cafe and a pub.


The bay immediately north with its Quay at the south end
Image: Michael Harpur


The bay immediately north also has the island's two principal quays used by the island ferries on either extremity. The Quay, also known as Church Quay which dries to 2.4 metres at the southern end and Anneka's Quay, also known as The Bar, at the north end that also dries to 1.1 metres and is used at low water.

The Quay on Bryher
Image: Michael Harpur



Green Bay offers the best all-round protection of any Scilly harbour for those that can take to the bottom. Green Bay's firm sandy beach offers one of the most peaceful drying anchorages within the island group for yachts that can take to the bottom. Fin keel vessels fitted with beaching legs will also find it calm and firm enough to beach.


Anneka's Quay
Image: Michael Harpur


Further information available from the Harbourmaster, Adam O’Neill Landline+44 1720 423653, Mobile+44 7778 601237, E-mailharbourmaster@tresco.co.uk, Websitewww.tresco.co.uk/arriving/moorings.


How to get in?
The Tresco Channel between Bryher and Tresco
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use southwestern England’s coastal overview from Land's End to Isles of Scilly Route location for approaches. Green Bay lies off the Tresco Channel which is a narrow stretch of shallow water that lies between the islands of Tresco and Bryher. Its northward end may be approached from seaward via New Grimsby Sound which is detailed in New Grimsby Click to view haven haven.

The southern end may be approached from St Mary's Road over Tresco Flats. The cut through the flats requires moderately good visibility and an adequate rise of tide. Conservatively planning for a maximum drying height of 1.7 metres, this would provide adequate water for most leisure craft 2 hours either side of high water, with the prudent making the approach during the rise. It can provide an enjoyable piece of navigation in suitable conditions.

The easiest approach to New Grimsby Sound in suitable conditions is from seaward and this is the approach described here.


Green Bay as seen from Sampson Hill to the south
Image: Michael Harpur


Initial fix location From the initial fix sound in southwestward for a ¼ of a mile passing between Harlftide Rock and Merrick Island and into the north end of the bay. The small 2.6 metres high Merrick Island is always visible but the Halftide Bar, a raised sandbank located about 200 metres off the head of the quay, covers and dries 2.8 metres LAT.


Merrick Island as seen from the southwest
Image: Michael Harpur


The north end of the bay is a flat area of clean sand, drying to between 1 to 2 metres, but the northern shore is fringed by a rocky ledge. It is possible to come close to the shore in the southern end of the bay but avoid the south-central part. It is foul with the Brown Ledge and the Three Brothers. These can both be avoided by Merrick Island on a back baring of no less than 075° T.


Boats drying on the southern shore with Brown Ledge exposed
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor off in a suitable drying area. The outer deeper berths are more subject to the tidal streams of the Tresco Channel. This can be avoided closer to the shore.


Yachts afloat in Green Bay with Brown Ledge and Great Crabs ledge in the
backdrop

Image: Michael Harpur


Most of the bay comprises a hard flat sandy bottom. This is excellent surface to dry out upon but can prove problematic for ground-tackle as CQRs and Danforths that usually cannot set on it. A delta is the best bet making certain it is well dug in at low tide.


Why visit here?
The name of the island was first recorded as Braer in 1319, and then variously as Brayer in 1336, Brear in 1500 and was formerly called Brefar until it finally became Bryher in more modern times. The name is derived from the Cornish place-name element bre meaning 'hill' and the plural suffix yer so in essence, 'the hills' or 'place of hills'. This aptly describes the small island composed of a series of five small rounded granite hills that ranging in height from between 33 and 42 metres.


Green Bay at half tide
Image: Michael Harpur


Green Bay most likely got its name because of its verdant backing or because of its prehistoric existence as a system of green fields. Then the line of seaweed-covered Three Brother Rocks, that disappearing into the water on the rise, was then the boundary posts of the Bronze Age fields. At this time the isles of Scilly were joined together and have gradually been separated by the encroachment of the sea at the end of the last Ice Age.


Bryher's rugged western coastline with the Norrard Rocks beyond
Image: Michael Harpur


It is believed the northern islands separated around 3,000 BC with Tresco, Bryher, and Samson remaining joined. Between 2,500 and 2,000 BC the most dramatic changes occurred to the island landscape when roughly two-thirds of the previous landmass became intertidal. The Cornish coast was equally affected during this inundation causing many forests to have become submerged along the coastline.


Great Porth on the west coast of Bryher
Image: Michael Harpur


Most notable amongst these is one in Mount’s Bay that has left the tumps of ancient Hazel tree buried in the foreshore. These sometimes expose when exceptionally low tides are accompanied by gales that push away the covering sands and samples have been radiocarbon-dated to this period. This connects directly with one of Cornwall’s oldest legends relating to the drowned Kingdom of Lyonesse captured in the poems and writings of John Milton, John Dryden and William Morris - see Saint Michael's Mount Click to view haven.


Great Porth and the Hell Bay Hotel
Image: Michael Harpur


The current configuration of the group was mostly achieved by 1,500 BC. Nevertheless, the Romans were still referring to the Isles of Scilly as one large island as late as the 4th-century. Two Medieval charters, that date to between 1140 and 1175, refer to the island of Rentemen which is thought to be Tresco and Bryher that were during this period still connected at low tide. At low spring-tides it is possible to walk from Samson to Bryher, from Bryher to Tresco, and from Tresco to St. Martin's, across the sand-flats. If one does not mind the risk of getting wet, it even remains possible to wade across Crow Bar between St. Martin's and St. Mary's.


Yachts in the New Grimsby Sound anchorage between Bryher and Tresco (in the backdrop)
Image: Michael Harpur


The submerged field system in Green Bay survives well, clearly displaying the character of the prehistoric land division and its manner of execution. Ruins of houses and stone walls have been found a couple of metres under the sand, the walls descending from the hills of Bryher and Samson, and running many feet under the level of the sea towards Tresco. Alongside these, there are many prehistoric remains from this time around the island in the form of chamber tombs on Samson Hill and Gweal Hill, a prominent burial mound on Shipman Head Down, where boulder walls link the cairns. Pottery, mostly French in origin, was recovered by a diver from the area of the Tresco Channel moorings in 2010. It is thought that it had been uncovered by slack mooring chains, at low water, dragging across the seabed to uncover the pottery.


Bryer beach stones mirroring the Bishop light in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


The rising tides have left Bryher a small island which, including Shipman Head, is 1.4 miles long with a maximum width of 0.7 miles, and it is the smallest of the populated islands. The five miniature hills, Watch Hill, Timmy’s Hill, Gweal Hill, Heathy Hill and Samson Hill blanketed with heather and bracken and the intervening valley pastures, running east-west across the island, makes it one of the prettiest of the islands.



The Northern (Norrard) Rocks as seen from Bryher
Image: Michael Harpur


It is also an island of extreme contrasts. Sheltered from prevailing conditions and tucked into to the west of Tresco on the eastern shoreline Green Bay is a picture of calm waters surrounded by extensive sandy flats. Not so the western and northern sides of Bryher that are exposed to the Atlantic conditions. These sections of the island take the full force of the violence of the ocean with nothing to save them except for a scattering of islands and reefs that extending 1¼ miles offshore and called the Northern (Norrard) Rocks. This makes for a rugged wild west coast that is strongly indented with a northern end, similar to Tresco, that is high and rugged, culminating in the impressive granite mass of Shipmans Head. Once the rampart of an Iron Age fort, the impressive head is technically an island as it is cut off at high tides from Badplace Hill, the island's northern extremity, but remains accessible at low tide via a scramble across exposed rocks.


Little High Rock, left, with Shipman Head in the backdrop the extremities of
Hell Bay

Image: Michael Harpur


The uninvitingly named Badplace Hill lies north of one of the islands most famous bays, the even less invitingly named Hell Bay. Cupped between Badplace Hill and the exposed headland heath of Shipman Head Down, it is said to have acquired its name from the number of 18th and 19th-century ships that it wrecked. This is more of a mythical appellation than historical as most ships would wreck on Scilly's outliers long before they could reach Hell Bay. Most notably upon Scilly Rock that rests on a plateau of granite rock nearly a mile outside the bay. It is much more likely that it acquired its name from the awe-inspiring spectacle it presents when big Atlantic rollers thunder in. This is most spectacular during winter storms when the waves are so large that they can break over Shipman Head.


Hell Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


This wildness of west and north shore could not be more removed from the calm wonderful Green Bay adjacent to the sheltered waters and sandy flats of the Tresco Channel. Green Bay, fronted by turquoise waters, a wide expanse of fine sand and backed by trees and shrubs with Sampson Hill rising at its southern end, looks the picture of beach out of the tropics.



The tranquil shoreline of Green Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Another beach, called Rushy Bay, that is located on Bryher's more protected southeast coast is also simply spectacular. It took its name from the rushes and marram grass that Augustus Smith planted in the 1830s to stabilize the shore against erosion. The small, sheltered, bright white sandy crescent, surrounded by a mass of flowers, with views out over the uninhabited island of Samson will most likely be found empty so you will have it all to yourself.


Rushy Bay, right, overlooking the deserted Sampson
Image: Michael Harpur


Today Bryer, with a community of around 80 people calling it home, has the smallest population of the 'off-islands'. Most of the houses are near its twin Quays in, the outsized named, Bryhertown that describes the 20 or so houses overlooking the deeper anchorage of New Grimsby Click to view haven. It is easily addressed on foot. From Green Bay to Rushy Bay to Droppy Nose Point to Hell Bay, round Badplace Hill and south through the 'town' and back, Bryer can be circumnavigated by foot in about an hour. But there are many more paths to enjoy. Most of the island is open heathland, wild and lonely, crisscrossed by tracks that provide spectacular views. These are dotted with stalls selling fresh produce including farm eggs, home-grown organic vegetables, freshly-landed seafood and mouth-watering island fudge to enjoy. So why rush there is plenty to take in.


The Fraggle Rock Café
Image: Michael Harpur


The church at All Saints, just inshore at the head of Green Bay, was dedicated in 1742 and later enlarged. Like the school, which closed in 1972, it originally served both Bryher and the neighbouring island of Samson until it was depopulated. Bryher's best views are available very close by from the summit Watch Hill. This lies immediately inshore of Annaka's Quay and a pathway that leads directly up from the Fraggle Rock Café.


Watch Hill view over Bryher's more tranquil eastern shore
Image: Michael Harpur


Watch Hill, is the highest point of the island, has a stone marker on top and small stone shelter that was possibly once used as a look-out by gig crews hoping for rescue work. It was the ideal location to stand watch as it has one of the finest views in all of Scilly. From here the rugged west coast of Bryher can be appreciated with the magnificent statuesque granite mounds of Castle Bryher and Maiden Bower in the backdrop and further out the Bishop Rock Lighthouse. The best vantage point to look down on Green Bay is from the top of Samson Hill. At low tides and see the remaining walls of the old field systems are clearly visible. It also offers great panoramas of the lonesome Samson, the south end of the Tresco Channel, across to St Mary's Road and most of the island chain.


The view towards St Mary's from Sampson Hill
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, Green Bay always dries. But it offers probably one of the most secure
berths of any Scilly harbour for those that can take to the bottom. It is so protected that fin-keel yachts equipped with legs will find it safe enough to deploy then here. Thos with the provisions locally available and the facilities of boatyard immediately available make it one of the best berths available for those that can take to the bottom.


What facilities are available?
Tucked into the south end of the bay Bennett’s Boat Yard now offers 24hr access to water on tap, a waste disposal area plus electric hot water shower facilities and laundry services for visiting yachtsmen whenever the yard is manned. The yard can help with most boating needs including, haulage, boat engineering, boat repairs and maintenance. They may be contacted via an online form on their website Bennett’s Boat Yard site External link, Mobile+44 7979 393206 or E-maildan@bennettboatyard.com.

Bennett’s Boat Yard
Bryher
Isles of Scilly
TR23 0PR

England's most westerly pub the Fraggle Rock Café close ashore on Bryer, +44 1720 422 222, provides a daily lunch and evening meals, drinks, snacks (including the famous crab double-decker Sandwich). Hell Bay Hotel western side, near Great Par Beach, +44 1720 422947, is a high-end hotel with a restaurant and a bar.

Drinking water is also available across the channel from a tap located on New Grimsby Quay and next to the Ruin Beach Cafe at Old Grimsby. Showers and internet are available at The New Inn. Diesel, petrol, laundry by arrangement at Tresco Island Office. Waste disposal in the dedicated facilities on New Grimsby and Old Grimsby Quays. Please ensure you separate your waste into food waste, glass, metal, paper and cardboard, and other waste before disposal.


With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, eOceanic.


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