Current projects

Hengistbury Head Long Groyne works 2021/22

Part of a 17-year Beach Management Scheme to protect our coastal frontages, making them more climate resilient.


BCP Council



22nd November 2021


November 2021

Long Groyne, Hengistbury Head

Hengistbury Head Long Groyne plays a crucial role in the control of coastal erosion within the bays.

Ground investigation works this winter

From Monday 22 November, ground investigation works will begin at the long groyne. This work will help inform the design of its planned upgrade and repair, which plays a critical role in helping control coastal erosion in Poole and Christchurch Bays.

The work will involve machinery drilling a 20 metre borehole at four different points along the groyne. Although disruption to the public will be minimal, we would ask that the public please take notice of the onsite signage and be cautious that plant machinery will be moving around this area.

The work is expected to last a few weeks, but progress is reliant on tides and weather conditions so it may take longer than anticipated.

Project Overview

The long groyne at Hengistbury Head plays a critical role in the control of coastal erosion in Poole Bay and Christchurch Harbour. However, its current condition, age and the site’s prevailing weather conditions means it is unlikely it will continue to perform effectively, particularly with the additional threat of sea level rise.

A detailed inspection of the structure in 2019 (using sonar and laser equipment) revealed it to be in a very poor condition. Several voids were discovered in the foundations below the waterline, with an associated risk of localised collapse. The groyne is also regularly submerged in water.

For safety reasons the structure was closed to the public.

The entire structure is due to be repaired and raised in height to help provide protection for the next 100 years from predicted sea-level rise.

The purpose of the Long Groyne

The 82-year-old groyne (constructed 1937–1939) is critical to controlling coastal erosion in Poole and Christchurch Bays where the current national policy for most of this populated coastal frontage is ‘hold the line’, meaning that existing coastal defences should be maintained, upgraded or replaced in their current position where funding permits.

Along with other shoreline structures, the long groyne helps to protect local communities and infrastructure; without the long groyne, beach material would rapidly wash away and the cliffs could start to erode again within a year.

Please do not put yourself in danger by climbing onto or fishing from the long groyne, even at low tide, it is unsafe.

If you are fishing around the coastline the RNLI advise you to plan your trip.

Tides and currents can be hard to predict. Even if the sea is relatively calm when you start out, a swell can quickly materialise producing rogue waves which, if in an exposed location, could drag you out to sea. Please respect the water and stay safe:

  • wear a life jacket,
  • carry a means of calling for help,
  • check the weather forecast,
  • tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.

Read more about staying safe while you’re out fishing at: