With many readers opting for a staycation this year for obvious reasons, we thought we’d feature a family walk in a popular seaside spot and highlight a few less well known waterside walks. All will make for a pleasant day out with the family.
West Wittering Beach & East Head
A 4 mile walk along the sandy beach of West Wittering and around the sand dunes of East Head with far-reaching views across to the Isle of Wight and then back past the old Coastguard cottages and church. Although the main swimming areas restrict four-legged visitors during peak months May to September, there are plenty of sections you can all enjoy.
1. From the Old House at Home pub (PO20 8AD) in Rookwood Road, look for the large brown signs to West Wittering Beach on the corner of Pound Road. Turn into Pound Road at point A. On your left are public toilets, immediately past these bear left at point 2 and follow the road down to the car park entrance.
2. At the entrance booths, turn left and walk onto the beach. On the beach, turn right and continue along either on the sand or on the flat area in front of the beach huts. Straight ahead of you is Hayling Island and across the water to your left is the Isle of Wight.
3. As you near the red flag there are some benches, unless the tide is very low, you will need to walk on the upper shingle area to get around the corner onto East Head. Follow the beach around the sand dune spit. Depending on the wind,you may prefer to walk around the spit in an anti-clockwise direction. If you do go into the dunes, please avoid trampling on Marram Grass and please stay out of the fenced or roped off areas.
4. When you have completed the circuit of East Head, finish on the land side. Head towards the car park but rather than going into it, follow the footpath round to the left at point C. If the tide is high you can take the path alongside the low fence, or continue along the shoreline. This is a tidal path and can be squelchy.
5. Either way you will join the path on top of the sea wall. You will come to an open grassy area called Snowhill. There are a number of benches here to rest and enjoy the view. Bear right across the grass. Turn right along the lane at point D. You will pass a
row of old Coastguard cottages on your left and then come to a wide gravelled drive on your left at point E.
6. Follow the footpath signs through a small caravan
park, through a gate and then across a field and over a wall into the churchyard. Take time to visit St Peter & St Paul Church. Bear left across the churchyard which will bring you into Pound Road.
Turn left with the school on your right and continue back to your start point.
Hamble Common to the Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley, Hampshire
This is a very pleasant (and dog friendly) walk along the beach from Hamble towards Southampton along the Solent Way. There is always much to see on the water, with the Fawley Oil Refinery and cargo ships going into Southampton, as well as many leisure craft. Royal Victoria Country Park at Netley was once the site of the world’s largest hospital, but now only the iconic chapel remains. The park’s ancient woodlands, large open spaces, boardwalks and ponds offer something for everyone. There are a number of picnic areas and family BBQ areas can be hired. The Café in the Park serves a wide variety of hot and cold food and children will love taking a ride on the miniature railway or burning off steam in the picturesque play areas.
Parking: Hamble Common SO31 4NB
Approx 2 miles each way
Stokes Bay, Hampshire
Stokes Bay offers a shingle beach with great views of the Isle of Wight, near the village of Alverstoke, close to Gosport. The Solent here is always full of activity, with sailing boats, kite surfers, ferries, container ships and more. There is a large grassy area adjacent to the beach, with a place for barbecues or picnics. Parts of the beach do not allow dogs from May to September but there is a long promenade where they are allowed on leads. Toilets and a café are available. You can walk eastwards past Gilkicker Point and its old Napoleonic fort for great views of Old Portsmouth and the shipping traffic moving in and out of Portsmouth Harbour or walk west towards Lee-on-the-Solent and visit the Diving Museum, open weekends and Bank Holidays.
Parking: Stokes Bay Rd PO12 2BL
Approx 1 mile each way
Climping Beach, West Sussex
Climping is a quiet rural beach located about halfway between Littlehampton and Bognor. Like many of the beaches along this stretch of the Sussex coast, it is made up of shingle and pebbles held in place by a series of wooden groynes. As the tide goes out a vast expanse of sand is exposed. Unlike the popular town beaches nearby, Climping (or Atherington) Beach is backed by low sand dunes and fields. Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round. From the car park, you can walk eastwards towards Littlehampton and the West Beach Café which serves a variety of refreshments and in summer offers puts on various events including a craft beer festival from 6th to 8th August.
Parking: Climping Street, Atherington BN17 5RN
Approx 1.5 miles each way
Thorney Island, West Sussex
We have previously mentioned this lovely peninsular between Hayling Island and Chichester Harbour and it really is well worth a visit. The full walk around the island is 8.5 miles but you don’t have to walk it in full. As it is a military base, walks are restricted to the the public paths and trails, which take you on a perimeter of the island with fantastic views of the coastline. Dogs are welcome.
Parking: Emsworth PO10 7DG