Hengistbury Head is a headland jutting into the English Channel between Bournemouth and Mudeford. It is a site of international importance in terms of its archaeology and is scheduled as an Ancient Monument. Declared a Local Nature Reserve in 1990, the head and its surroundings form part of the Christchurch Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest.
It is also a Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area, an Environmentally Sensitive Area and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The name “Hengistbury Head” refers to the immediate area; the elevated portion is called Warren Hill.
There has been human activity on the site since the Upper Palaeolithic. During the Victorian era, it was heavily quarried, and in recent years tourism has become significant – it receives more than one million visitors annually. The various habitats on the Head provide a home for many plants, birds and insects, some of them rare and critically endangered. Erosion remains a threat to the site, although long-term projects are intended to secure it for the future.
The Visitor Centre
Wildlife expert, conservationist and television presenter Chris Packham officially opened the centre in April 2014. It was created to help explain the area, its history, wildlife, archaeology and geology to visitors. Packed full of interactive displays, with lots of friendly, knowledgeable volunteers on hand, it’s a wonderful way to step back in time and see how our ancestors lived. We look forward to welcoming you.
Hengistbury Head is a great place to bring the whole family. Take the land train for gentle and easy access to Mudeford Sand spit, then enjoy the view with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, or something more substantial in one of the cafes.
If adventure is more your thing, you could take a course with the Outdoor Education Centre or enjoy the spectacular views, earned with a little effort, from the top of Warren Hill.
Whatever your plans for the day, the friendly staff and volunteers at the Visitor Centre will help you make the most of your visit..