Lydney Harbour: information for boaters

The Environment Agency manages Lydney Harbour on the River Severn.

Lydney Harbour is next to the River Severn in Gloucestershire.

Sale of Lydney Harbour

Following a lengthy selection process the Environment Agency has identified a preferred bidder to begin negotiations with about the details of transfer and the associated harbour authority responsibilities for Lydney Harbour.

Approaches to the harbour are shown on British Admiralty chart 1166, position Latitude 51o42’.6 North and Longitude 2o30’.5 West.

The harbour consists of an outer basin, inner basin and a disused canal.

There are no suitable anchorages close to the harbour.

Water height approaching the harbour

The approaches to Lydney are subject to very strong tidal streams and the area outside the harbour dries at low water.

Datum relating to Lydney

Chart Datum is 1.83m below Ordnance Datum Newlyn.

Lydney Sill is 0.13m below Ordnance Datum Newlyn.

Tidal Heights in relation to Chart Datum

  • Mean High Water Springs (MHWS) 9.3m
  • Mean High Water Neaps (MHWN) 5.6m
  • Mean Low Water Springs 0.6m
  • Mean Low Water Neaps 0.5m

The depth over the outer basin sill is 7.6 metres at MHWS and 3.9 metres at MHWN.

You can work out the depth of water over the sill by deducting 1.2 metres from the depth shown on the gauge at Sharpness Dock at the head of Bristol Channel.

Harbour procedures

The entrance to Lydney Harbour can be difficult to navigate. It’s only available at or within half an hour of high water. The tidal streams run across the entrance with considerable strength.

Boats approaching Lydney should switch their radio to VHF channel 37. All boat movements are controlled by the harbour master, via VHF radio or mobile phone. Boats may enter Lydney Harbour when a low intensity orange flashing light is displayed at a height of 2.5m from a stand on the north side of the entrance to the outer basin. This light is visible when abeam of the north pier, at a range of half a nautical mile.

If you are able to you should also monitor VHF radio channel 13 (Sharpness Radio) to check inter-ship communication and communication with Sharpness Dock to avoid potential collision with commercial boats bound to or from Sharpness Dock.

To ensure the safety of navigation of all boats in the River Severn, the main channel must be recognised as a narrow channel in the context of The International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea. Rule 9 of these regulations, about narrow channels, is particularly important for all boats using the River Severn and Lydney Harbour.

You should note that large or commercial boats on the river may have restricted navigation and be unable to take action to avoid a collision because of the narrow channel and severe tides.

Plan your passage into the harbour

We recommend you plan your passage to or from Lydney Harbour taking account of the weather, times of high and low water, available depths and hazards. Check Admiralty chart 1166. The harbour master can also give you guidance.

Basin and lock dimensions

The harbour outer gates have a width of 10.1 metres.

The outer basin is 82.3 metres long with an average width of 22.7 metres and depths of 7.3 metres at high water springs.

The lock to the inner basin is 7.3 metres wide and has depths of 4.1 metres at the upper gate sill.

The inner basin is 231.7 metres long and 32 metres wide.


Pilotage isn’t compulsory within Lydney Harbour.

Pilotage is compulsory in Gloucester Harbour if your boat is 30m or more long. You can get details from the Gloucester Harbour Trustees.

Boats entering Lydney Harbour

You should approach the dock on a westerly heading from the main channel of the River Severn, from a point north of Bull Rock. Then cross the Sanigar Sands toward the main pier of Lydney Dock.

How you approach will depend on the height and location of any off lying sandbanks. The sandbanks vary in level and may be up to 1 metre above the height of Lydney entrance sill.

The outer basin at the harbour is used to tow moor inbound boats and pre-position outbound boats as required so full use can be made of the times the tidal allows passage over the sill.

Notice of arrival and departure time

You should contact the harbour master to give notice of when you plan to arrive at or leave the harbour so the harbour gates can be opened.

For tides predicted to be 8.4 metres of more at Sharpness you should give 6 hours notice. For tides predicted to be less than 8.4 metres you should give 24 hours notice.

The harbour master may be contacted:

  • by telephone on 07768 861 282

  • on VHF channel 37

Find out about call charges.

Boats leaving the harbour should be ready to enter the lock one hour before high water. The harbour is operational from one and a half hours before high water until high water.


All boats entering Lydney Harbour must have a minimum of third party marine insurance. People using Lydney Harbour do so at their own risk; the Environment Agency accepts no responsibility for any loss or injury.

Harbour approach and entry

On both flood and ebb of the tide there is a strong flow across the entrance to the harbour, up to about 6 knots. There is slack water between the entrance piers. There is also slack water on the in-coming tide north of Lydney pier extending as far as Fairtide rock.

You should plan to arrive off Lydney no earlier than 20 minutes before high water. Take care not to arrive off the entrance too early on tide and ensure that there’s sufficient under keel clearance over Lydney and Saniger sands.

We recommend that if you are approaching from the south west you use the main navigational channel until mid way between Bull Rock Beacon and Berkeley Pill. Then steer a course for Lydney Harbour entrance making allowance for tidal influence.

If you are approaching from Sharpness head for Lydney north pier making allowance for tidal influence and making use of the slack water mentioned above. During the summer months there may be small yachts on drying moorings in this area.

Give a wide berth to the fish trap marked on the chart 2 miles south west of Lydney. At some states of tide it will be just below water level. We recommend that you don’t leave the main channel unless you have local knowledge of the area.

Large commercial ships using the nearby docks at Sharpness and the River Severn are confined to the main navigation channel. This is recognised as a narrow channel and skippers of small craft should act prudently and with due regard to the International Rules for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea to avoid hampering the movement of larger boats.

Information for small boats travelling between Sharpness and Bristol is available from Gloucester Harbour Trustees. This includes information for boats travelling to Lydney. Information is also in Arrowsmith’s Bristol Channel tide table, available to buy online or from book sellers .

Facilities in the harbour

A limited number of moorings are installed and maintained by the Environment Agency within the inner basin of the harbour.

Mooring charge for boats under 9 metres:

  • monthly charge £22.50

  • annual charge £270

Mooring charge for boats 9 metres and over:

  • monthly charge £36

  • annual charge £432

The Environment Agency Harbour Master controls all moorings within the harbour area. Allocation is determined though discussion between the harbour master and the boat operator.

Lydney Yacht Club leases premises and the slipway adjacent to Lydney Harbour.

There are occasional dinghy rallies in the harbour.

Published 11 June 2014
Last updated 23 November 2016 + show all updates
  1. Update to 'sale of Lydney Harbour' section

  2. The Environment Agency has instructed national property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton to handle the sale process of Lydney Harbour on their behalf.

  3. First published.