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Hill Head beach

Hill Head beach is important place for our wonderful migratory birds in the winter including dunlin, sanderling and dark-bellied brent geese.

But our regular patrols showed the spot has been ranking the third worst out of 87 sites along the entire Solent coastline for disturbance over the last five years.

Find out what’s planned to help the birds rest and feed here in the future without being disturbed.

Brent geese

Dunlin, sanderling and dark-bellied brent geese: protected birds that spend the winter on Hill Head beach

Later this year, a protected area for birds is to be introduced on Hill Head beach between October and March. This means that part of the beach will now exclude dogs over the winter months to protect migratory birds that use this shoreline for feeding.

The protected zone will be at the western end of the beach, from the Hill Head Sailing Club to the end of the beach huts on the promenade, between 1 October and 31 March. Dog walkers will continue to be able to use the walkway in front of the beach huts.

Hill Head beach

In recent years, birds have frequently been disturbed on this part of the beach, particularly by dogs. These birds migrate here from the Arctic, some as far as 3,000 miles, to feed on the rich sand and mud flats. They need to be able to feed and rest without being disturbed in order to survive the winter and return to their summer breeding grounds.

As part of Fareham Borough Council’s review of the Public Spaces Protection Order on Hill Head beach, Bird Aware Solent proposed introducing an additional seasonal dog exclusion zone during the winter months. Feedback from local residents supported the new bird protection and the proposals were agreed by Fareham Borough Council on 20 June 2023.

The winter exclusion zone is in addition to a summer restriction at a different portion of the beach. The two zones occur at different times of the year meaning that there will only be one dog exclusion zone in effect at any one time, and a section of the beach will be available for dogs all year.