Hengistbury Head Beach (Solent Beach)

Hengistbury Head is one of the the less commercialised beaches in the Bournemouth area. It is now known as Solent Beach although most people still know it as Hengistbury Head Beach. It is the most Eastern of the Bournemouth beaches and is next to Southbourne Beach. Trailing off the end of Hengistbury Head is Mudeford Sandbank Beach in Christchurch.

A winters view down Hengistury Beach. In tghe far distance is the Isle of Wight.
A winters view down Hengistury Beach. In tghe far distance is the Isle of Wight.

The beach is a mix of sand and shingle. It is offset by the 30 metre high crumbling cliff-face of Hengistbury Head. Although somewhat despoiled by the very necessary beach defences, the beach is a quiet natural place.

If you want a continuous supply of ice cream, nearby toilets, children’s clubs etc, this is the wrong beach for you. If however you like to be a little more self sufficient and dislike noisy crowded beaches you will find Solent beach more to your liking. Be aware that there is no Lifeguard on the this beach. You should also stay back from the cliffs.

The crumbling cliffs f Hengistbury Head. Notice the large ironstone boulder on the beach
The crumbling cliffs f Hengistbury Head. Notice the large ironstone boulder on the beach

Hengistbury Beach is also popular for sea fishing. The end near the Long Groyne is particularly popular. Nearby open grassland known as Barn Field, allows the visitor to picnic away from the sandy beach. Barn Field is very popular for kite flying.

Visitors should be aware that fires and barbeques are not allowed. This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and so is, after all, a very special place. It should be treated with respect.

Hengistbury Head Facilities

There are toilets and a cafe near the Noddy train ticket office. This is adjacent to Hengistbury Head Car Park. A visitors centre provides much information of this special place.

A Dog Friendly Beach

Hengistbury Head allows dogs to be exercised on the beach and fields all year round. Be aware though that cattle and other live-stock often graze on the fields nearby. Dogs should be kept strictly under control when near the live-stock.

Hengistbury Head History

In pre-Roman times Hengistbury Head was once the premier trading port in England. Wine, gold and flour were shipped though Hengistbury Head. Ancient burials mounds have been found. The area is the subject of major scientific investigation. More information on the history of this special place can be found on my Hengistbury Head website on this link.

In the 1850’s a mining operation did untold damage to both Hengistbury Head and the whole area by stripping the iron-rich boulders off the beach. There boulders has acted like a natural beach defence and had protected the base of Hengistbury Head from erosion for many thousands of years. The headland then rapidly eroded. Ever since there has been a a great deal of beach defence work undertaken, both at Hengistbury Head and further along Bournemouth Bay, to try and rectify the situation.



Hengistbury Head is relatively well served with parking although it still does fill quite rapidly in the summer months.

Broadway Car Park (BH6 4EL)

The nearest car park to Hengistbury Head (and also therefore Mudeford Sandspit) is the Broadway Car Park (BH6 4EL) which holds 700 vehicles. There is a cafe and Noddy train to Mudeford Sandspit that runs from its eastern end.

Solent Car park (BH6 4DX)

The car park that is actually nearest to Hengistbury Head Beach is Solent car park (BH6 4DX) which holds 550 vehicles.

Street Parkiing

There is also some time restricted street parking along the Broadway and along Rolls Drive, mostly it is limited to one hour and is rigorously enforced.