Around Felixstowe

Introduction

The area runs from Minismere Haven to the north down to just south go Frinton on Sea to the south.

Although the coastline is mostly long shingle or gravel beaches, the area incorporates a number of tidal rivers and estuaries of interest to the sea kayaker. From north to south these are: The Ore/Alde (Orford Ness), the Deben, the Orwell, the Stour and the Walton backwaters.

Times of high water

River Alde at Slaughden: High water is 1 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Dover

Ore Entrance: High water is 15 minutes after high water at Dover

Stour, Manningtree: High water is 20 minutes after high water at Harwich

Stone Point, Walton on the Naze: High water is 40 minutes after high water at Dover Tide tables are available for Walton.

Walton Backwaters: High water is at high water at Walton-on-the-naze It is possible to paddle around both Horsey and Skippers Island with a sufficiently high tide. As a guide, the causeway to Horsey dries around 2.7m, the channel around Skippers to 3.2m. MHWS=4.2, MHWN=3.4, MLWN=1.1, MLWS=0.4.

Tidal streams

By Sizewell Power Station: The north going stream begins at 1 hours and 40 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north going stream reaches a speed of 1.3 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.2 knots at springs.

Orford Ness: The north north-east going stream begins at 15 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south south-west going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Harwich. The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

River Ore at Orford: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Harwich. The south-west going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Harwich.

River Ore Entrance: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south-west going stream begins at 35 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 4 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 6 knots at springs. Information is a little vague. The sandbanks here shift around from year to year - recent detailed chart from East Coat pilot website. The out-going flow can cause a tide race with an opposing wind.

Hollesey Bay, south of Orford Ness: The north-east going stream begins at 40 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.1 knots at springs.

River Deben entrance: The south-east going stream begins at 15 minutes before high water at Harwich. The north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes after high water at Harwich. The flow reaches a speed of 3.5 knots at springs. The tide flows swiftly over the shifting sandbanks at the entrance. Streams are less within the river north of Felixstowe Ferry. Highly detailed recent charts of the mouth of the river on the East Coat Pilot website.

River Deben at Woodbridge: The north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south-west going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Harwich.

Harwich harbour entrance, off Felixstowe Port: The south south-east going stream begins at 40 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north north-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Harwich. The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.4 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Harwich harbour entrance, Landguard Point: The south-east going stream begins at at high water at Harwich. The north-west going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Harwich. The south-east going stream reaches a speed of 2.6 knots at springs. The north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.8 knots at springs.

Orwell at western end of Felixstowe Port: The south south-east going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north north-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Harwich. The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Orwell at Ipswich: The north north-east going stream begins at 3 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south south-west going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Harwich. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

River Stour by Shotley Gate: The east going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Harwich. The west going stream begins at 6 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Harwich. The east going stream reaches a speed of 2.2 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

River Stour at Mistley: The east going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Harwich. The west going stream begins at 3 hours and 15 minutes before high water at Harwich.

Entrance to Hamford water: The north-east going stream begins at 40 minutes after high water at Walton-on-the-naze. The south-west going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Walton-on-the-naze. The north-east going stream reaches a speed of 2.4 knots at springs. The south-west going stream reaches a speed of 1.7 knots at springs.

Off The Naze: The north going stream begins at 45 minutes before high water at Harwich. The south going stream begins at 5 hours and 40 minutes after high water at Harwich. The north going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.4 knots at springs.

Walton channel, Walton backwaters: The south going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Walton-on-the-naze. The north going stream begins at 25 minutes after high water at Walton-on-the-naze. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.3 knots at springs. The north going stream reaches a speed of 1.7 knots at springs. High water at Walton is almost the same time as high water Harwich.

Notes

Harwich Harbour: Harwich VTS may be contacted on VHF channel 71 - it is worth monitoring this channel to be aware of vessel movements although you are asked not to transmit on it except in an emergency or in doubt as to vessel movements in reduced visibility. More information at Harwich Haven website.

Access/Egress

Sizewell Beach: (TM 475 629) g Car park and cafe 100 m from the beach, in the shadow of the nuclear power station.

Aldeburgh Thorpe Road Car Park: (TM 467 575) g Large car park by the beach.

Slaughden: (TM 464 555) g Large car park with access to both the River Alde (Ore) via the sailing club slipway and the sea at Aldeburgh Bay. As such, this provides an ideal launch site for a paddle around Orford Ness.

Shingle Street: (TM 370 431) g Small parking area a short walk from the beach.

River Deben, Ramsholt: (TM 307 414) g Slipway, with reasonably sized car park 100m away

Felixstowe Ferry: (TM 329 376) g Parking by the road in front of the pub is public - obviously immediately by the pub is for patrons only. Pay and display car park just to the north. Carry over the raised banks to access the river. The tide may be running swiftly past the put in, and at least one kayaker has managed to get pinned and wrapped their boat around the channel marking post nearby.

Felixstowe Cliff Road: (TM 324 363) g Large car park and plenty of grass to pack boats on. Short but steep carry down steps at the north east corner of the car park to the beach.

Felixstowe Undercliff Road East: (TM 313 348) g Roadside parking by the beach.

Shotley Gate: (TM 246 336) g Limited roadside parking next to a pub that serves good food. Best at high water. The sailing club slipway nearby is usable at more states of the tide, but use is apparently discouraged. It is said that the Marina at the end of the road will give permission for kayakers to launch on the pontoon at the outside of their lock.

Manningtree, Quay street,: (TM 108 319) g Ramp to the river on Quay Street, roadside parking here, and to the east. Usable around high water. The sailing club slipway nearby is usable 3 hours either side of high water.

Harwich, Wellington Road: (TM 262 326) g Pay and display car park by the beach.

Felixstowe Manor Terrace Car Park: (TM 290 325) g Large, and likely quiet, car park by the beach. Public toilets.

Dovercourt, Harwich: (TM 248 300) g Limited parking a short carry from the beach. Can be busy here - best to arrive early. More parking just north of the recycling centre, less than 100m north.

Walton-on-the-Naze, Naze Tower: (TM 266 234) g Large car park, 100 m carry down to beach.

Walton on the Naze, East Terrace: (TM 260 224) g Roadside parking by the beach, likely busy in summer.

Suggested trips

Walton Backwaters: One of the better trips on the East Anglian Coast and the setting for Arthur Ransome’s book 'Secret Water'. We normally launch at Dovercourt, although it would also be possible to start on the beach at Walton. The area between Harwich and the backwaters is shallow, so it's wise to get offshore. To add interest, one can head SSE from Dovercourt and pick up the buoyed channel into Hamford Water. It is possible to paddle around both Horsey Island and Skippers Island with good planning, but see notes on tidal heights to avoid being stranded in the mud. Its also worth heading up towards Bramble and Oakley creek, as a group of seals live in this area - as ever, stay quiet and keep your distance to avoid disturbing them. The only good point to get out for a leg stretch and lunch at most states of the tide is Stone Point, which has a sandy beach.

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