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View of the Solent © Mary Michael Patterson

Explore the Solent

The Solent is a stunning area of coastline.

The variety of habitats from sandy beaches to muddy river banks support a huge variety of plants and animals.

Here’s some highlights of the Solent with our rangers’ recommendations for spotting the best in its wealth of wildlife.


Solent salt marshes looking towards Isle of Wight
Ranger Alice and Conrad the dog

Our partner organisation, Coast and Country Canines, has put together some suggested walking routes to help you explore our wonderful coast and countryside. All walks include parking and other facility details, a place to play off lead and (weather permitting!) some lovely views.

Lymington Keyhaven Nature Reserve (lymington marina)

The New Forest Coastline

Throughout the autumn and winter, the New Forest coastline hosts an extraordinary array of migratory wading birds, ducks and geese.

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Cams Bay

The Fareham coastline

Bunny Meadows and Cams Bay are two wildlife highlights of this part of the Solent coastline.

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Hayling Island newsletter

Hayling Island

Every winter, a fantastic variety of coastal birds fly thousands of miles to reach the rich feeding grounds and sheltered bays of Hayling Island.

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The River Hamble in the mist

The River Hamble

If you’ve ever thought about getting into birdwatching, then the River Hamble Estuary is a great place to start.

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View from the top of the beach at Ryde Sands - golden sand, the sea and a blue, cloudy sky.

The Ryde shoreline

As well as being a favourite among local people, Ryde is also a vitally important habitat for a fantastic variety of migratory birds.

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Waterside walk recommendations

Rangers’ recommended waterside walks

Our Rangers share some of their favourite waterside walks around the Solent, together with tips for looking out for birds.

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Beige line

There are many ways to experience the uniqueness of the region and soak up all it has to offer, including on the water, on two wheels or on foot.

Packing your paddle?

Our watersports with wildlife map and guides help paddle and wind sports enthusiasts coexist with nature. The interactive map is designed to help people reduce any disturbance to protected birds and habitats.

It pinpoints wildlife friendly exit and entry points as well as where to find amenities like cars parks and toilets. We’ve also provided a short description of each site and a few suggested wildlife friendly paddle routes.

For further information about staying wildlife aware when you’re out on the water, take a look at our guidance for wildlife aware paddle sports and wildlife aware wind sports.

Stand up paddleboarder
Beige line

Local authorities and national organisations have produced resources dedicated to active travel which help people to stay fit, experience more and capture the Solent in the best way possible.

Many of these beautiful areas are also used by feeding, resting and nesting birds, alongside other sensitive wildlife. So make sure you share our shores following the Coastal Code to ensure that wildlife can enjoy these areas too.

kayaking on the River Hamble

Watersports with Wildlife

Our watersports with wildlife map and guides help paddle and wind sports enthusiasts coexist with nature.

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