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Hengistbury Head – An Ancient Heritage Site

Hengistbury Head is one of the gems of Bournemouth. It is a headland that juts out into the Solent and forms the main division between Poole Bay and Christchurch Bay.

The beach side of Hengistbury Head
The beach side of Hengistbury Head

Going back 2500 years ago Hengistbury Head was the foremost trading port in Iron Age England. The ramp and ditch defences from that time still exist today. The ramp and ditch defence is called the Double Dykes and forms the western most boundary to a pre-historic trading centre. Eighteenth century Smugglers used to land their cargos off the shore here and then move it by river further inland. When you walk the paths and lanes around Hengistbury Head you are keeping some very dodgy historical company.

Today this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest ( an SSSI) and it holds this designation for a whole range of reasons from being of unique argeological value through to its massively diverse range of wildlife. But don’t think this is some guarded place off-bounds to the casual visitor. Far from it. Hengistbury Head has over one million visitors a year. People hike over its top (a small flat grassland plain called Warren Hill) and enjoy its magnificent views out over the Solent and surrounding area. It is a great place to visit if you fancy a change from the beach. It is also the gateway to Mudeford Sandspit which has a fine beach as well as the most expensive beach huts in the uk!

Hengistbury Head – More Detail

If you want to get more of a flavour of the rich history of this place try This Website Link

A view from Warren Hill looking over Mudeford Harbour
A view from Warren Hill looking over Mudeford Harbour

A very popular new visitors centre opened a few years ago. It regularly puts on environmental events for children and adults. The educational content is second to none and what’s more, they are fun!

The visitors centre website can be found On This Link

Just to the west is a large field where you can catch the breeze coming off the sea and fly your kite or have a picnic.

Looking west from Warren Hill
Looking west from Warren Hill

It is a great place to let the kids race around a bit while at the same time offering an informative and breathtakingly beautiful outlook.

If you come to Bournemouth you must go to Hengistbury Head.

 

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