Christchurch Harbour is an isolated natural harbour to the South East of Christchurch. The harbour is generally shallow and due to the tidal harmonics in the English Channel has a double high water on each tide. Its is surrounded by varied habitats including saltmarshes, wet meadows, grassland, heath, sand dunes, woodland and scrub.
The Harbour is sheltered by the fishing village of Mudeford to the north and Hengistbury Head nature reserve to the south. Two rivers, the Avon and the Stour, flow into the Harbour from Christchuch at its northwest corner. On the north east side of the harbour, are Priory Marsh and Stanpit Marsh. To the west side of the harbour are Wick Fields, the southern flank of the harbour is protected by Hengistbury Head, a prominent coastal headland.
The harbour flows into the ocean on the East side via a narrow channel in the Mudeford Sandbank known locally as The Run, Shallow-draught boats can travel through this channel into Christchurch Bay with views towards the Needles and Isle Of Wight, before expanding into the English Channel.
The harbour is home to three Sailing Clubs, Highcliffe Sailing Club situated on Mudeford Quay, Mudeford Sailing Club on the North Shore and Christchurch Sailing Club adjacent to Place Mill on Christchurch Quay. Christchurch Rowing Club is situated on the Quomps above Christchurch Quay. Hengistbury Head Activities Centre is situated on the South Shore of the Harbour.
There are more than 1,400 small boat moorings in the harbour and rivers. Sailing, rowing, canoeing, windsurfing and kite surfing are all practised in the harbour. Fishing, walking and bird spotting are all activities enjoyed on the Harbour shores.
Mudeford Ferry operates between Mudeford Quay and the Beach at Mudeford Sandbank approximately every 15 minutes during British Summer Time, which is from Easter to late October, weather permitting.
Ferries also runs from Tuckton Bridge to Mudeford Sandbank and between there and Mudeford Quay, these are some of the same vessels first used in the 1930s. There is also a ferry at Wick.