Bramble Bank

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The annual Bramble Bank cricket match.

The Bramble Bank, otherwise known simply as "The Brambles" is an arrowhead-shaped sandbar in the central Solent which is uncovered at low water spring tides. At other times it presents either a significant navigational hazard or a useful escape from the strong Solent tides. The bank is moving very slowly westward. It is marked at its southeastern limit by the Brambles post sea mark and on its western limit by the West Knoll buoy.

The Brambles post has comprehensive weather and sea state monitoring equipment which is relayed in realtime to a website.[1]

The Bramble Bank is renowned for the annual cricket match held there, when the Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC) play the Island Sailing Club. The match takes place when the bank is exposed but never lasts very long before the tide returns. The undulating surface with large puddles ensures it is more a social occasion than a serious cricket match, and the scoring reflects this - the victor of the game is pre-determined, and the two clubs simply take it in turns to "win" the match, regardless of play. The penultimate match was held on 31 August 2015, the RSYC won. The most recent was played on September 18, 2016. According to The Times (page 12, September 20, 2016) "The Island Yacht Club narrowly beat the Royal Southern Yacht Club".

The Brambles cricket match has been described as "quintessentially English"[2] and has even drawn the attention of a House of Commons Standing Committee, when it was mentioned as a light-hearted example of an event which falls geographically between the boundaries of two different licensing authorities.[3]


Höegh Osaka beached on the bank

On Tuesday 11 November 2008, on approaching Southampton Docks for her last visit prior to retirement, the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth 2 ran aground on the Bramble Bank at approximately 0530 hrs. She required four tugs to pull her clear on the rising tide and arrived in Southampton approximately 90 minutes late.[4]

On 3 January 2015 the car transporter MV Höegh Osaka was beached on the bank after developing a list.[5][6] A 200-metre maritime exclusion zone was put into in place around the ship until the salvage operation took place, and airspace below 2,000 ft was also closed to aircraft within 1 mile (1.6 km).[7] She was refloated on the rising tide on the 7th of January 2015, and was towed 2 miles east of the bank and moored between East Cowes and Lee on the Solent to await further salvage operations.

Shortly before 10pm on 13 February 2016 the 368 m (1,207 ft) container ship APL Vanda ran aground on the bank. Several tugs and crew from Calshot lifeboat station attended and, within a couple of hours, the ship was refloated on the rising tide.[8][9]

In popular culture[edit]

Bramble Bank is shown and labelled on maps of the Solent in Ship Simulator 2008 and Ship Simulator Extremes, but doesn't pose any threat to the player due to an absence of low tide in those games.


  1. ^ "Weather Reports from Bramble Bank". Bramblemet. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  2. ^ Majendie, Matt (10 January 2014). "Cricketers at sea: The world's most pointless sporting contest?". CNN. Retrieved 2015-01-04. It is quintessentially English, a land to have spawned more than its fair share of sporting eccentricities. On the surface of it, this match is supremely pointless -- and actually, that remains the same even if you dig below the surface. 
  3. ^ Mr. Turner (8 May 2003). "Licensing Bill". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: Lords. My point about Bramble bank is that it is covered by water most of the year. It is not in the city of Southampton or in any of the adjoining councils of New Forest, Eastleigh or Fareham. Neither is it in the area that is covered by Isle of Wight council. Can the Minister tell me which licensing authority would be responsible for Bramble bank or for any similar partof the country that is exposed only at low tide two or three times a year? 
  4. ^ Travel. "QE2 runs aground near Southampton before final voyage". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  5. ^ "Crew rescued from listing Solent car transporter". BBC news. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "Hoegh Osaka cargo ship 'grounded deliberately' in Solent". BBC News. 4 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Investigation into listing Hoegh Osaka cargo ship begins". BBC News Online. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "CONTAINER SHIP RUNS AGROUND OFF COWES". Island Echo. 13 February 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-02-14. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 
  9. ^ Makin, Jenny (2016-02-14). "PHOTOS AND UPDATE: Massive container ship runs aground in the Solent". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 2016-02-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°47′41″N 1°17′15″W / 50.79472°N 1.28750°W / 50.79472; -1.28750