Forming part of a mile-long shingle spit that arcs out into the entrance of Southampton Water, Calshot is a relatively quiet and pretty stretch of coast. With a gentle slope into the sea, the bay is ideal for gentle wading, although you may have to go some distance before you reach the kind of depths needed for a decent swim. But with trees and scrubland behind as well as Calshot Castle, Luttrell’s Tower and a nature reserve, the area is pleasant and relatively undisturbed at the western end.
The beach is situated about half a mile east of the more popular textile destination of Lepe, but walking between the two is prohibited because of the nature reserve that sits in the middle. However, the entrance at Calshot has some basic amenities and a car park with toilets. The area is also home to a popular watersports activity centre and as such, there are usually a few sailing boats and windsurfers out in the water.
At high tide there isn’t much of a beach but at low tide the shingle eventually gives way to soft sand. However, it is a bit too little and a bit too short in supply to really enjoy. Instead, a pair of beach shoes are needed to navigate the shingle.
The unofficial naturist section is to the west – turn right when you walk on to the beach – and head up for about half a mile/10 minutes, past the huts and until you get to the wooden groynes. The naturist section extends from this point until the boundary fence. Exploring the surrounding area behind the beach and in the nature reserve is strictly prohibited as it is private land.
There are some reports of the landowners frowning upon naturists, even at the far end near the nature reserve boundary fence. A No Nude Bathers sign was erected at the beach entrance as well. Reviews from the past couple of years suggest that as long as bathers are respectful and discrete, there isn’t really a problem.
Narrow shingle beach but has a gentle slope into the sea with sand underfoot further out. There is a sandbar about 200 metres out. The beach is kept clean and tidy and the naturist section starts at the groynes in the west and goes up to the boundary fence.
Generally speaking very clean considering its proximity to a busy shipping lane in-and-out of Southampton Water. Due to the shallowness of of the foreshore it can feel quite warm on a good summer’s day, but for swimming you will need to venture further out into the realm of paddle-boarders and jet-skiers.
Calshot Spit Location