The Bournemouth Coastal Path is a 20 mile walk which begins at the Sandbanks ferry in Poole and ends in Milford on Sea. It sits between the 630 mile South West Coastal Path and the 60 mile Solent Way.
We walked from Milford on Sea. The walk is easy going with plenty of places to rest and admire the fantastic coastal views towards the Isle of Wight to the south east and the Purbeck Hills to the south west. Along the route you pass through three nature reserves, Chewton Bunny, Steamer Point, and the Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve. The views of Christchurch harbour from Hengistbury Headland are, for us, the highlight of the walk.
You can choose to take to the cliff tops or walk mostly along the beaches which are pebbly to start with at Milford and Barton but become more sandy as you approach Bournemouth and Poole. If you choose the cliff top you will find plenty of paths known locally as ‘chines’ or ‘bunnies’ which cut down to the beach. There are around 12 of these along the Bournemouth to Poole stretch.
Things to consider…
There is a small ferry from Mudeford Quay to take you on to Mudeford Spit but this only operates in the summer. If you do this walk during the winter months you will need to walk via Christchurch (about three miles).
Between Barton and Highcliffe near Chewton Bunny there is a private holiday park so here you may need to walk inland at high tide.
There are some great places to stop for a bite to eat or coffee our favourites are …
Beachcomber cafe in Barton …. http://www.beachcomber-cafe.co.uk/
Mudeford Spit http://www.beachhousecafe.co.uk/
Bistro on the beach http://www.bistroonthebeach.co.uk/
Urban Reef Cafe http://www.urbanreef.com/
Other places of interest
Hengistbury head visitor centre
The beach huts on the Mudeford Spit can be hired to stay in for a weekend