Durlston Bay / Studland Bay / Poole Harbour / Poole Bay / Christchurch Harbour / Christchurch Bay / Hurst Spit / Swanage Bay
Management Unit CBY7
Hurst Spit is a shingle
bank at the easternmost point of Christchurch Bay and extends 2.5km from the end of Milford beach out into the
Solent. It is an important coastal defence, protecting the Western Solent
from flooding and sheltering the designated area of saltmarsh to the north
(along the boundary with the North Solent SMP).
formed by natural processes, Hurst Spit is now maintained by regular
shingle recycling operations. The Spit has been
declining in volume, probably since the 1940's when coast protection works
in Christchurch Bay first began to interrupt movement of the shingle that
maintains its stability.
The reduction in sediment supply led to
several breaches and in 1996 major work was
undertaken to replenish the spit with shingle and to construct a
rock breakwater and new rock revetment and current management includes
regular shingle replenishment and monitoring.
Saltmarshes to the north of the spit are also
eroding, with the seaward edge eroding at up to 3m/year.
Solent & Southampton Water Ramsar Site
Solent Maritime SAC
Solent & Southampton Water SAC
SAC - Special Area
Hurst Castle, built between 1541-1544, is a
Scheduled Monument, the principal historic feature of the Spit and a
popular destination for visitors, as is the beach. It also
represents the eastern boundary of this SMP.
Coastal management issues here include:
Ensuring future coastal protection works
impact less on sediment supply and thus reduce the risk of breaches
Restoration of the natural accretion of
shingle and protection of shingle habitats
Protection of the saltmarsh
New Forest District Council