Mudeford Sandbank Beach trails off the Eastern end of Hengistbury Head and forms the Eastern boundary of Christchurch Harbour. This ancient sandspit is known today as Mudeford Sandbank.
Today this sandspit hosts a collection of famously expensive beach-huts along with the fine beach. There still remains a diminished dune structure that once used to occupy most of this place. It is also often known simply as Mudeford Sandspit. Sometimes (locally) you will hear it referred to as “The Island”, although it isn’t an island and never has been.
The sandy beach, on the eastern side of Mudeford Sanbank, faces the Solent and looks out across to the Isle of Wight. This beach offers good bathing and magnificent views. The harbour side is not really suitable for swimming but is extensively used for water sports. The eastern side of Mudeford Sandbank is broken up into sections by a series of (mainly) wooden groynes.
There is a recently upgraded cafe/restaurant on the sandbank along with an ice-cream vendor and two toilet blocks.
There is no direct access for cars without special permission.
Dog Friendly Beach.
Like Hengistbury Head Beach to which it is attached this beach is Dog Friendly all year round. There is no direct access to this beach by car so many who dislike walking any distance are put off. Because of the ban on general vehicular access the access road has very few vehicles on it.
Those few vehicles that are allowed to access Mudeford Sandbank (and it is a very few) crawl along the access road at 10mph or less. So it tends to be a safe place to exercise dogs. As a result there is a higher proportion of dog walkers here. Especially people with their pets who have walked from the Hengistbury Head car parks.
Ferries to Mudeford Sandbank Beach
Regular ferries run from Mudeford Quay on (I believe) a 15 minute turn-round in summer.
There is a regular ferry service from Tuckton Bridge and Christchurch Quay which takes you through the harbour and takes about 20 minutes from Tuckton bridge. It is a scenic and leisurely way to get down to Mudeford Sandbank. I highly recommend it.
You can also get transport to the sandbank via a Land Train from near the Hungry Hiker Cafe which is at the eastern end of the main Hengistbury Head car park known as the Broadway Car Park.
Walking to Mudeford Sandbank
Walking access to Mudeford Sandbank Beach is either via the the access lane, over the top of Hengistbury Head or round Solent Beach. All three walks are excellent, scenic and fairly easy. The longest is via the beach and the shortest (about 2/3rds of a mile) is along the access lane. The access lane, while highly scenic is flat tarmacced and easy. The sandbank has a nice beach. It complements the scenic walk nicely. Access by foot takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Due to the difficulty (non existence) of car access, this beach tends to be quieter than other nearby beaches. Because most people acessig this beach get there on foot there tend to be a lot of dog walkers among them. So if you like dogs or places where you can take dogs this is a good beach.
Parking for Mudeford Sandbank
There are no dedicated car parks and access to Mudeford Sandspit by vehicle is strictly controlled. The nearest Car parks (and how to access Mudeford Sandbank from them) is given below
Broadway Car Park (BH6 4EL)
This is the main Hengistbury Head Car Park. It holds around700 cars but it priamrily serves hengistbury Head and also Southbourne. It is about one mile from Mudeford Sanbank by foot. You can get a land train (when running) from the Hungry hiker Cafe at the eatern end of the car park.
Mudeford Quay Car park (BH23 4AB)
Mudeford Quay is the nearer than the Broadway Car park but you do need to then take the ferry to get to Mudeford Sandbank. Make sure you do not miss the last ferry back in the evening. It is a very, very long way round from Mudeford Sandspit to Mudeford Quay by road.
There is a limited amount of strictly controlled time limited parking along the Broadway at Hengistbury Head. There is some more along Rolls Drive just to the west of the car park. All of it is unsuitable for a day at the beach. But maybe OK for a 45 minute exercise of the dog.