Calshot Spit

Calshot Beach
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.

Beach
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.
Water
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

Directions

By Car
From the east, M3 down to M27, and then A35 towards Ashurst. Once through Southampton aim for A326 (left at the roundabout, towards Marchwood, Dibden, Hythe). Follow this road, over any roundabouts, past Hythe and the Fawley refinery where is becomes the B3053. The road emerges on the coast where there are parking spaces as well as further around to the left.

By Public Transport
South Western Trains on the Bournemouth/Weymouth line stop at Southampton Central. The Bluestar 8 bus service leaves from the northern (London) side of the station and takes you directly to Calshot. The journey is about 70 minutes and the bus stops and turns at a small pay and display car park.

Amenities

There is a car park as you get to the coast which you cannot miss – cars on either side of the widening road. If you venture around to the left and travel a minute or so you will find the activity centre and another car park. All are pay and display.
There is a small cafe near to the beach entrance and ice cream vendors in high season. There are also toilets in the car park nearest the activity centre, which itself is a draw for some to the beach.
The waters at Calshot are safe and relatively shallow – there is a sand bar about 200 metres out. However, the prevalence of jet-skis and other motorised water craft can spoil the serenity, despite signs warning users of such craft to keep away from the bathing area. Water quality for Calsot is considered excellent and is tested regularly. The beach is cleaned daily during peak season.