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Frampton Pill

The Frampton Pill Adventure


About a year ago during a conversation with Brian Bailey, the subject of Landing Rights at Frampton Pill were discussed.

For those who don’t know where Frampton Pill is, it is near Splatt Bridge and meanders in from the Severn to a slipway about 100 metres from the bridge.

Prior to the Canal being built this was a busy waterway with freight coming to a wharf at Frampton and also along the River Cam which ran into it to Cambridge.


After our discussions I thought it would be a good idea to exercise our landing rights and sail / motor up the pill. I found that there were some members of the Sailing Club that would also be interested in partaking and so the seed was sown for the adventure.

It was decided that the weekend of 22nd / 23rd August would be a good time as the tides were forecast to be around 9-10 metres high, very necessary as the Pill is silted up and needs a high tide to fill with water.

With a 3 star Bore forecast for the 22nd it was decided to try on the 23rd. The idea was to launch down river around Berkeley and come out at Frampton, and so we had to find a suitable launch site. Thornbury Sailing Club at Oldbury Pill was my first idea but a 12 mile sail up the Severn was thought to be a little adventurous for the first time.

Looking on Google Earth I noticed a Pill at Berkeley and so we went to look for this. Unfortunately this was difficult to get too and needed a full tide; however we did notice that 100 metres north of Berkeley Power Station there was a 3 metre wide strip of concrete going down from the sea wall straight into the river, so this was the launch site. We went to see the Farmer and got his permission to go across the field to the launch site and so every thing was in place.

All we needed now was Adventurers.

An appeal in the Sailing Club newsletter came up with several volunteers and so it was decided to that for this initial expedition Roger and Bill Gribble would use their Wanderer Dinghy ( as it can have an outboard fitted ) and one of the Clubs Rescue boats would be used with Pete Roberts, Richard Stephens and Dave Bourne, I was relegated to taking the Boat there and bringing the trailer back.

So at 9.00 am on the 23rd August we launched the Wanderer and the Jeanneau into the Severn on a dry day with about 10 mph of wind. They left Berkeley at about 9.30 am and had a steady sail up the river on the incoming tide ( high tide was due at Frampton at about 11.00 am ). Obviously one of the key things is recognising where the Pill was when sailing up river and so Brian had rigged up a flag on a pole at the mouth of the Pill.

I drove back to Frampton with the trailer and then walked out to the mouth of the Pill to await our adventurers, and sure enough there they were in the distance making good time up the river. They reached the Pill about 11/4 hours after leaving Berkeley.

The water was streaming into the Pill and filling up quickly and so they didn’t need any power to move up the Pill, only needing to fend off from the side until they reached the Slipway.

Everybody thought that this had been a great adventure and plans are afoot to take even more boats next year with it possibly turning into and annual event.