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River fishing on the Hampshire Avon at Criddlestyle Cottage

Address: Near Fordingbridge, Hampshire, England
Phone number: 01425 650856
Number of lakes/pegs 110 yard stretch of the Hampshire Avon
Prices Please visit website for details
Opening times Cottage open all year. Closed season applies to river fishing
Directions Please visit website for details
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Venue information

The Hampshire Avon is renowned as the premier specimen coarse fishing river in the UK.  Guests who stay at Criddlestyle Cottage, have the exclusive use of a private, 110 yard stretch of the Hampshire Avon with five swims, all of varying character. 

The recently extended and refurbished Cottage is located within the New Forest National Park, between the town of Fordingbridge and the village of Godshill.

The Cottage  can accommodate up to 10 people and pets are also welcome.

There are five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a woodburner in a large longe/diner, together with parking for up to three cars and a secure tackle shed.

The river is approximately 150 yards from the Cottage and within 15 minutes walk is the Sandy Balls complex with a wide range of facilities including a leisure centre, restaurants, pub, Spa shop and gift shop, cycle hire and a number of children play areas.

For more information about the Cottage, availability and tariffs, please visit and look at the New Forest section.

On this part of the Hampshire Avon, the owner has caught barbel up to 14lb 10oz, Roach up to 3lb 3oz, chub up to 7lb 1oz, carp up to 28lb and bream up to 7lb.

Other fish include sea trout, salmon, dace, pike, grayling, and perch, although barbel, chub and roach are the predominate specimens.

This stretch of the Avon comprises a number of deep holes and eddies, with over hanging trees, with a principally gravel bottom of varying depth. The characteristics of the river vary widely over the seasons. The pictures below were taken at the beginning of September when the river was low and the flow quite slow. The opposite bank is an open water meadow, normally with a herd of Old English Whites, which is privately owned and very rarely fished.

This is very much a stretch of river suited to the experienced specimen coarse fisherman which fishes very well from the beginning of the season (16th June) until the end of the season (14th March).

The water is generally very clear in the summer and autumn months and very good for fish watching. Whilst there can be shoals of smaller fish, principally dace, roach and chub, the main target has to be the large barbel, roach and chub.

There are many double figure barbel that move up and down this stretch and are particularly active from June- November.



As the temperatures drop, the chub and roach fishing takes over, particularly when there is a little more colour and flow and much of the weed has died off. December, January and February are the best months for specimen roach, particularly following a period of flood.

Late February, early March, as temperatures start to rise again, can see the return of some early barbel. Throughout the season, the occasional shoal of large river carp move through the swims and often hang around in some of the deeper holes, where large pike can also be found. 

When the water is clear, the best time is definitely early morning or late evening and even when there is some colour, the evenings still seem to offer the best fishing.
This private stretch of river has only been lightly fished by the last owner, present owner and a few friends over the last 16 years and has only recently been available to guests staying at Criddlestyle Cottage.



This stretch of the river immediately adjoins the Sandy Balls Conservation Area and it is possible to purchase day tickets to fish their ½ mile stretch of the Avon for £10 per day per person.

The cycling shop, within Sand Balls, has a small amount of tackle and bait and you can purchase your day tickets from here.

The Sandy Balls stretch,  can be accessed through a locked gate in the perimeter fence and does provide a wide range of swims and a number of fishing platforms and is ideally suited to roaming.

If you want to fish this stretch more than once, it is possible to buy tickets in advance so that you do not have keep returning to the shop.

The shop is about a 20 minute walk or a two minute drive and is located within the central complex of Sandy Balls.

For more information please contact

There is a more detailed description of the fishing together with rules and conditions that can be e-mailed to interested fishermen.

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Thursday, 28 July 2016