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Browndown South


This is the extensive area of shingle beach lying between Elmore Fishing Club Car Park and the west end of Stokes Bay marked by Bayside Cabin Café car park SZ 5860 9879. It belongs to the MOD and is used extensively as a beach landing and training area. It is also an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The reasons for this is that it is one of the largest shingle beaches on the South Coast and it has an extensive area of unique coastal heathland. This heathland gives a brilliant show of purple flower in late July and August. It also has a very well represented foreshore shingle flora, with Yellow Horned Poppies, showy Sea Kale, lots of Sea Campion, with single white flowers and Sea Beetroot with its glossy green leaves and brilliant red stems. Together with the purple haze of Sea Thrift flowers, which grow a little further inland on the rabbit grazed meadows this gives a brilliant show in May and June. In spring among the gorse bushes the scrub on the old sea cliff is alive with the song of Whitethroat Warblers and Dartford Warblers. You may even hear some Skylarks singing but the area is rather overused for them to stay and nest.

The SSSI and the whole area is under the management of the MOD, who have a local conservation group to advice on necessary action to keep the features of the SSSI in place.


Access - The MOD have a policy of allowing the public onto their land provided neither the public nor military personnel are put at risk. The area is closed during military exercises and a red flag is shown at the two locked entrance gates. At other times access is allowed to visitors. The Solent Way is a long distance walk and permitted access is allowed from the end of Lee Promenade right through to the car park at Bayside Cabin Cafe. The route is along the foreshore. This is also closed during military exercises.

Parking. Best at Elmore Fishing Club Car Park (There is a charge) and then through the gated access straight down to the sea and turn east. The gate to Browndown lies before you. Car Park Map ref SZ 5696 9965.

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