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Anchoring in the Cleddau River

After spending 5 nights in Milford Haven Marina we were keen to get back to anchor and so we set our sights on going up river.

Before starting our cruising season this year we purchased the Imray pilot book ‘Irish Sea Pilot’ by David Rainsbury. In it David wrote that above the Cleddau Bridge the industrial side of Milford Haven is left behind and the river becomes an idyllic place with a number of suitable anchoring or mooring spots. We were keen to see what rural Wales had to offer!

Making our way out of the marina at ‘free flow’ we were greeted with a fairly choppy sea state, the marina is certainly well sheltered! Making our way up river we past more oil refineries, tankers and the port of Pembroke before slipping under the Cleddau bridge, which provides a link between the southern and northern towns of Pembrokeshire.

Approaching the Cleddau Bridge

It is, indeed, from here that the river starts to become much more tranquil and narrower. Marine traffic suddenly seems to disappear, the chimneys and power plants that scar the skyline back down river vanish from view and is replaced with wooded areas and green hills.

Our intended anchorage was just to the west of Lawrenny Quay. If you prefer a mooring then there are a number available at Lawrenny belonging to Lawrenny Yacht Station at a cost of £20 a night. There is a pontoon where you can land your dinghy and The Lawrenny Arms is a a popular spot for yachtsmen! You will also find a tearoom, fuel, water and a small chandlery.

When we reached our proposed anchoring spot we couldn’t find a space we would have been overly comfortable with (there were a few boats anchored and swing room was limited) so we proceeded further up river.

Anchorage Number 1 – near Benton Wood

We dropped the hook at position 51°43.871N 4°53.156W, which is just near the bend by Benton Wood and across from Garron Pill. This idyllic spot was beautiful but we had absolutely no phone signal whatsoever. Yes this sounds perfect and ideally we would have stayed here shut off from all outside world interruptions but we did need to work so unfortunately it meant we couldn’t stay. So after just the one night we weighed anchor and carried on up river.

Anchorage near Benton Wood at sunset

Anchorage Number 2 – Black Tar

Close to the village of Llangwm is Black Tar Point , so called because in years gone by local fishermen would use tar to keep their boats waterproof. We dropped the hook at 51°45.058N 4°53.828W, away from the local moorings and pretty much smack bang in the middle of the river in approximately 6m of water.

We stayed here for a week and unfortunately the weather was a bit hit and miss, but for the majority of our stay we were protected from the brunt of the wind. However one day we did ride out 20 knots from the south but with the ebb tide meaning we were wind against tide, we had an uncomfortable few hours sat across the chop. With it also being springs the tide ripped up and down the river and obviously being in the middle we were sat in the main stream.

Black Tar Anchorage

The only real place to land the dinghy was the slipway at Black Tar but carrying our tender and outboard up to the tie up point would have been too difficult (the tide times that week meant low water was around late morning/early afternoon) so we opted to row across at slack and catch the flood tide back.

We had googled Llangwm and found that there was a village shop but the info online suggested it shut at 1pm. This wasn’t ideal for our tide times! So we called them only to be told that the shop had actually closed permanently last September and was now just a Post Office 🤣 Therefore our only option was the village shop in Hook, about a 4 mile round trip. But this little shop had everything and the owners were so, so nice, taking the time to chat to us and give us some local knowledge. And it just looked so quaint…..

Hook General Stores

But with another ‘big blow’ due in from the south – this time with a predicted 35 knots, we knew we had to move on. But our idyllic little anchorage had other ideas!….


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