Friars Cliff Beach starts at the eastern end of Avon Beach. You access the western end of the beach by either joining it from Avon Beach or by walking down a small ramp from the road above.
Then you will be on the promenade on top of the sea wall that defends this first section of the beach. The beach is a shingle/sand beach although the consistency of the beach changes from year to year. It is somewhat wider than it as 50 years ago although not to the same extent that nearby Avon Beach is.
The Friars Cliff Beach: The Wave Wall
As you walk on down you come to a curious sea defence that is about 100 yards in length. This is the “Wave wall”. It was built in the early 60’s to defend the shallow cliffs at this point. Behind this sea wall once stood a top secret communications complex known as SRDE (Signals Research and Development Establishment). Here they developed some of the first satellite communications equipement.
A Secret Location
If you walk just inland by a 20 or so yards you willl come across the concrete base of a “Golf Ball” This was a large building that resembled (unsurprisingly) a Golf Ball. Within the golf ball was a large dish antenna that was used to communicate with remote locations (mainly at sea).
Friars Cliff Beach: Dog Friendly Area
Beyond the wave wall the beach is dog friendly all year round. (All Bournemouth Bay Dog Friendly Beaches are listed on this page) Here you will find one of the most natural beaches in the Bournemouth area. There a few (if any) facilities. But the trade off with far less people and a quieter environment is (in my opinion) well worth the effort of walking to this beach.
You can also approach the beach from the other end by walking through High Cliffe Castle and taking the ramp down to the beach.
I regard this beach as highly underrated. It is in fact one of my favourite beaches within the area.
Friars Cliff Beach: Parking
Steamer Point (BH23 4TA)
The nearest car park to this beach is at Steamer point (just inland of the wave wall). It holds 168 cars.
Southcliffe Road Car Park. (BH23 4EW)
This is ( I believe) a car park that opens only in the summer. It holds 200 cars. It also services overflow for Avon Beach.
Highcliffe Castle (BH23 4LE)
This car park holds 102 cars. Obviously this car park is designed mainly to serve visitors to Highciffe Castle but it is in a good position for the beach as well.