Hampshire’s coast is important for many reasons, particularly its commercial ports, wildlife, historic heritage, recreation (especially sailing), tourism and marine industries.
The area between the Hampshire coast and the Isle of Wight is known as the Solent. It is one of the busiest coastal zones in England, yet it retains areas of national importance for their landscape and nature conservation value.
The coast of Hampshire, from Highcliffe on the Dorset border to Chichester Harbour in West Sussex, is about 55 kilometres (34 miles) long as the crow flies. However, the high water mark between those points traverses about 370 kilometres (230 miles) as it follows every creek and inlet of every harbour and estuary.
Maintaining the balance between economic prosperity, environmental protection and conservation, and meeting social and recreational needs presents the County Council and other relevant authorities and agencies with an immense, ongoing challenge. Hampshire County Council has a superb track record in coastal planning and management, and is keen to maintain the authority’s position among the leading coastal local authorities.
This website summarises the important features of Hampshire’s coast and the Solent. It also helps to explain the various ways in which Hampshire County Council cares for the coastline. The County Council probably owns more coastal land for conservation and recreation than any local authority in the country.