How to get there -
From the A 326 turn north for Marchwood. In Marchwood head north-east past the church. At the "T" junction fork right, then keep right on this road. The road passes the old Husbands shipyard, then becomes a track leading to Cracknore Hard.
For those with SatNav the postcode is SO40 4ZD.
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Suggested Launch Site -
You can park on firm areas near the shipyard gate and portage to the water, or if confident of your vehicle's capabilities on gravel, go to the end of the track. There is a concrete hard which goes all the way down to low water.
This is a good launch point to explore upper Southampton Water, or even cross and go up the Itchen. I usually head north-west along the coast. This passes a power station wharf, then reeds and mudflats to Eling. You can land and explore there, shops etc. and working tide mill. Alternatively continue outside the buoy upriver to the second bridge which marks the legal limit of navigation. Return down either side (depending upon weather).
Southampton Water is tidal, but tidal currents are not great in the upper reaches. There is now a water ski area near the road bridge, I believe. Keep very well clear of ships near the container docks if they show any signs of movement. Cracknore Hard is usable at all times, but other landing places may have deep mud at low tide. Do not get stranded on mud by a falling tide! Check chart or ordnance survey map, tide times and weather forecast before you start.
The trip to the far bridge and back is about 6 miles.