A Look Around Hengistbury Head and Hengistbury Head Beach
Hengistbury Head Postcode: BH6 4EL
Today was a little trip to Hengistbury Head and Hengistbury Head Beach. A very popular and historical location in Christchurch which has recorded historical items dating back 65 million years. It’s called the Jurassic Coast and if you’re lucky you may find some dinosaur fossils embedded in the rocks and along the beach sand.
Hengistbury Head is a dog walkers paradise with miles and miles of beach with soft golden sand with sandhills and open stretches of the headland to run and explore. This is a conversation area and contains lots of protected species and birds who have made their home here since the beginning of time. Dogs are allowed off-lead here but you must keep control of them because if they are seen to be worrying any of the nature here, then you can face prosecution.
Did you know?
- More than 300 species of bird live or visit here.
- About a quarter of Britain’s flowering plant species grow here.
- Almost a third of the UK’s species of moths have been recorded here.
Read Also: A Short Trip to Highcliffe Castle and Highcliffe Castle Beach * Captains Club Christchurch – Hotel and Cocktail Bar * A Short Trip to Mudeford Beach – Mudeford Quay * New Forest Villages – 6 Most Popular * 13 Unique Things to do in the New Forest
My visit was around 10 am in the month of June and it was relatively quiet. Nobody was on the beach yet and there were not that many walkers about. It’s also popular for those who love mountain biking and riding in general and if you aren’t interested in walking or riding a bike then there is a land train that will take you from Mudeford Sandbank back to Hengistbury Head Cafe.
For those visiting Mudeford Beach, there is a ferry that you can catch over from Mudeford Quay to Mudeford Sandbank and from there you can walk along the coastline to Hengistbury Head. This is a lovely walk and short trip on a Ferry taking in the beautiful scenery of the Christchurch Coastline.
Hengistbury Head Beach
Hengistbury Head Beach is a stunning natural beach. It’s protected and is kept as natural as possible due to it being a conversation area. The sand here is mainly soft and pebble free although there are pebbles as you walk into the water.
This beach is great for sunbathing because the built-up walls surrounding the beach keep the wind at bay and it is a real sun trap.
Dogs are allowed on this beach all year round and it’s a fantastic safe place for them to run free. Hengistbury Head Beach does not get as packed or as busy as the other beaches in the area such as Bournemouth Beach or Southbourne Beach. This beach is quiet and has an open feel about it. There are beautiful views across the bay and up to Hengistbury Head Point.
Hengistbury Head Beach Huts
To find out more on the Beach Huts at Hengistbury Head go to our Mudeford Beach Huts article.
Hengistbury Head Car Park
The car park is easily located at the beginning of the head right next to the Hengistbury Head Cafe. It is pay per park, although there are spots along the road where people can park for free but these get filled up really quickly, especially in the summer months. If you get there early enough you may just be able to find one.
Hengistbury Head Cafe and Land Train
You can find the cafe next to the car park at the entrance of the head. Here you can enjoy a beverage of your choice or indulge in one of their famous ice creams. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and there are benches outside to sit and take in the surrounding views as you eat your meal.
There are dog bowls here of water which is very handy, but I always ensure I take a bottle with me as this is quite a long walk and the temperatures here in Bournemouth get very hot during the mid-day.
The cafe is a good meeting point for hikers and walkers and is usually very busy in the summer. This is also where you can catch the land train which will take you to Mudeford Sandbank. This is a wonderful experience and a great way to take in the stunning landscapes and views. It’s also a very unique experience and one not easily forgotten.
The picnic tables outside and scattered further over the heath are available for anyone who wants to sit and stop for a coffee or who has brought along their own picnic.
Hengistbury Head Wildlife
The headland here is a huge ecosystem and a delicate balance of habitats. Because of the vast head and its many plant species to keep the grass down animals are used to graze the areas. You will see sheep and cows roaming around the area. They keep down the scrub and the grassy areas.
There are over 500 plant species, 300 types of birds, a superb variety of insects, reptiles and small mammals on Hengistbury Head. So it’s a very special place indeed for the study of such species and wildlife.
There are numerous LIVE CAMS set up to watch the wildlife. And they can be found here: https://parksfoundation.org.uk/wildlife-cameras
Hengistbury Head Visitor Center
The visitor center is very informative. Here you will learn the vast history of the area its wildlife, archaeology, and geology dating back 65 million years and proof of over 12 million years of habitation by humans. So as you can imagine there is a lot to cover there.
Packed full of interactive displays, with lots of friendly, knowledgeable volunteers on hand, it’s a wonderful way to step back in time and see how our ancestors lived.
For children there are lots of fun, educational interactive displays as well as a wonderful wildlife garden which is maintained by volunteers. Here children learn about the ecosystem in a natural garden and wonder at all the species of insects that live there.