Probably our favourite place.
Virtually no facilities to speak of, a (National Trust administered) natural harbour where you can anchor or use one of the visitor's buoys (around £10 - £15). The main anchorage is in Clamerkin Lake (turn to port once through the entrance), the majority of the mooring buoys are straight ahead from the entrance. The area can get very busy at weekends, leading to much fending off at the turn of the tide for those that didn't quite get it right. The current can get quite strong at times so, if anchoring, make sure the hook is well and truly stuck. (More than once we have left the harbour, on the ebb, stern first with the anchor still down. This normally occurs at about 2 o'clock in the morning).
The beach to the west of the entrance is the usual landing place. It is quite steep and, if landing at low water, you need to haul the dinghy quite high if staying ashore for any length of time. Barbecue on the beach here or walk along the shingle a short way if it's too crowded. The walk along the beach and up the hill to Hamstead Farm yields great views over the Solent. See the Map below for a pleasant 1-2 hour circular walk. If you're feeling fit you can walk all the way to Yarmouth.
Newtown River entrance. Inside looking out.
Take the dinghy up Clamerkin Lake, past the Oyster beds, and you can land on the starboard hand at a small fishing quay (don't try to land or return at low water). There's a very pleasant walk through the woods and you can visit the bird hide overlooking the saltings. The whole area is great for bird watching. Oh, and for the last few years there has been a more or less permanent population of seals. They can often be seen basking on the mud banks of Clamerkin, oblivious to the moored yachts. Keep your eyes open.
Clamerkin Lake showing a couple of the visitors buoys.
Landing at Shalfleet Quay (See the Map below) (again it could be difficult at low tide) and walking along the track for a mile or so brings you to the pub at Shalfleet where a good (but not cheap) meal can be found. When you reach the road at the Pub, if you turn left for a couple of hundred yards there is a farm shop (ex garage) that sells bread, milk, meat, vegetables etc (Bartons corner on the map). The farm shop also houses a cafe for drinks and delicious home made cakes. Alas, September 2018 sees the pub shut and the shop/cafe gone, the pub may re-open but the cafe is doubtful. If you walk straight across the main road from the pub in Shalfleet village and follow the road around you will come to the village shop which stocks a wide range of fresh food, groceries, drinks, icecreams etc.
The map below also shows another circular walk through the fields.
A visit to Newtown with its peculiar old town hall is worth the effort. Land at the quay close to the boathouse (See map below).Guide price : £5 (28ft at anchor 2005). 50% Discount for National Trust members.
2006 and news comes that the RYA, after years of discussion, have finally persuaded the National Trust that they have no legal right to charge for anchoring in Newtown river. They have agreed to drop the charge and will, instead, be 'passing the hat' and asking for a contribution to the upkeep. I've no objection to a few pounds a night for the good work they do in maintaining the perches and the surroundings. They are, of course, perfectly entitled to charge for the use of their moorings.
Just in case you think the photos above make this place look idyllic... Newtown on a busy weekend.
Here is a pleasant walk that takes between 1 and 2 hours depending on your mood... At the right time of year there are plenty of blackberries and sloes (for sloe gin!) to be picked.
Here is another walk that takes a couple of hours. Again there can be plenty of blackberries and on this walk you pass a pub (at Shalfleet) and a campsite (at Newbridge) that has a shop, a takeaway that is sometimes open and a cafe which is open to visitors (in the swimming pool building).