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Beaches in Christchurch

Information on the beaches in Christchurch, including facilities, bathing water quality, dog walking and horse riding.

The beaches in Christchurch stretch continuously from Highcliffe in the East to Avon Beach in the West. The Beaches and Hinterland Management Plan (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) informs day-to-day management and outlines our objectives for beaches in Christchurch. To see regular updates and news please find us on  Facebook (opens in a new window).

Bathing Water Quality

Every week during the bathing season from May to September the Environment Agency take samples at designated bathing waters including all of the beaches in Christchurch. These samples are analysed against the standards in the European Bathing Water Directive. To view current and historic water quality data visit the Environment Agency Bathing Water Checker (opens in a new window)

Dogs on beaches

Our Dog Control Orders strike a balance between providing safe bathing areas and provision for dog owners to exercise their dogs in a natural environment. The main provisions of the orders are:

  • From 1 May to 30 September, dogs are not permitted on the beach between Avon Beach and Friars Cliff Beach, or on Highcliffe Beach between groynes H4 and H8.
  • From 1 May to 30 September dogs must be on a lead when on the promenade, the cliff steps and cliff pathways between Avon Beach and Friars Cliff Beach.

Horses on beaches

Horses are not permitted on the seashore between Easter and 30 September (inclusive) between 10am and 9pm as outlined in Byelaw 16 (pdf, 24kb) (opens in a new window)

Barbecues and fires

Barbecues and fires of any type are not permitted on any of our beaches at any time as outlined in Byelaw 16 (pdf, 24kb) (opens in a new window)

Beach Segregation Scheme

We operate a beach segregation scheme (pdf, 71kb) (opens in a new window) which aims to reduce conflict between swimmers and other water users. There are designated bathing beaches at:

  • Avon Beach and Friars Cliff (in front of the beach huts)
  • Highcliffe Castle (between the wave wall and groyne H1)
  • Highcliffe (between groyne H8 and H11)
  • Mudeford Sandbank (the seaward side)

There are designated water sports areas at: 

  • Avon Beach (in front of the car park)
  • Friars Cliff (in front of the wave wall)
  • Highcliffe Beach (between groynes H8 and H11)
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