Excellent water quality ratings for New Forest and Milford beaches

Excellent water quality ratings for New Forest and Milford beaches

Visitors to our local beaches are enjoying water of the very highest quality according to a nationwide scientific study. The two main beaches along the New Forest National Park's 26 miles of coastline, Calshot and Lepe, have both been rated 'excellent' for water quality, and so too have the beaches at Milford-on-Sea, Barton-on-Sea and Highcliffe.

The ratings were part of a national survey of 413 beaches and lakes nationwide, undertaken by the Environment Agency. It found that the quality of water at England's beaches is the best on record, with 98.5% passing tough standards. 

Check the water quality at every bathing beach in England

Paul Walton, Head of Environment and Rural Economy at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: "The New Forest is rightly famous for its free roaming animals, ancient woodland and wide open heathlands. However the National Park’s coastline is just as special, both as habitat for rare wading birds and a place for visitors to enjoy the sea.

So the news that the water at Lepe and Calshot is of the very highest order is very welcome. It shows that if we all do our bit to care for the Forest it can have really positive results."

The excellent water quality at the New Forest’s beaches is set against a backdrop of huge improvements in water quality nationally. In the early 1990s only 28 per cent of bathing waters met the top water quality standards; now 93% are rated excellent and good.

The number of bathing waters rated ‘excellent’ has increased by 5.9% since 2015 and five bathing waters have met or exceeded the minimum standards for the first time.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom, said: "England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution. This year more than 93% of bathing waters were rated excellent and good, but we’re not complacent – we’ll keep working to improve our environment and make sure it’s protected for future generations."


beach at milford on sea


Milford-on-Sea beach

Water quality: excellent

Milford-on-Sea beach is mostly shingle with a concrete sea wall and timber groynes and some sand at the waters edge in places. At the top of the beach is a coastal path, backed by the coast road and the town of Milford-on-Sea. There are three main carparks: Hurst Road, Paddy's Gap and Hordle Cliff (both along Cliff Road towards Barton-on-Sea). Refreshments available at Hurst Road carpark with the Needles Eye Café (plus children's playground) and with a kiosk café at Hordle Cliff carpark.

Barton-on-Sea Beach

Water quality: excellent

The shingle beach at Barton-on-Sea has rock groynes and a steep slope, flattening to shallow sandy flats that are exposed when the tide retreats. There are relatively stable paths along the beach which is backed by 30 metre high clay cliffs. Parking along Marine Road. Refreshments available at the Beachcomber Café.

Highcliffe Beach

Water quality: excellent

The shingle beach at Highcliffe has numerous groynes and a moderate slope, flattening to shallow sandy flats that are exposed when the tide retreats. Behind the beach are cliffs and a shoreline promenade which provides access to the town and to the coast road at the top of the cliff. Parking at the end of Waterford Road. Refreshments at the Cliffhanger Café.

Highcliffe Castle Beach

Water quality: excellent

Highcliffe Castle has a sand and shingle beach, approximately one kilometre wide, backed by woodland covered cliffs. Parking at Highcliffe Castle is pay-and-display. Follow the zig-zag path down the cliffs to the beach. Refreshments available at Highcliffe Castle café.

Lepe Beach

Water quality: excellent

Lepe beach, part of Lepe Country Park, is a mixture of sand and shingle, sloping down to a sandy area that extends out for some distance at low tide.

Calshot Beach

Water quality: excellent

Calshot beach is part of a shingle spit on the Hampshire coast which extends westward into the southern end of Southampton Water. The beach in mostly shingle with some sand. It is backed by beach huts and offers views over the Solent to Isle of Wight. There are some short wooden groynes at the top of the beach which then slopes down to a shingle and sand shelf which extends out for some distance on low tides, and affords plenty of shallow water at mid tides. The beach is popular with water sports enthusiasts. 

9 November 2016 


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