lepe country park

Welcome to blog #12 in my series of family-friendly dog walks near Chandlers Ford.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Caroline and I am a family photographer in Chandlers Ford. I am totally based outside, so I am always looking for new locations at which I can recommend to my families.

The premise for these blogs was started when my children were younger and I was so bored of taking them on the same walks day-in day-out. So I started collecting ideas for different places, paying particular attention to details such as whether they were pushchair-friendly, whether the dog had to be on the lead for large parts and whether it was just safe to let the three of them just run free. People then started asking for suggestions where they could take their kids / dogs to and so was borne my blog series!

Now it is worth noting 3 things when reading these blogs:

1) you definitely do not need a dog to visit these locations;

2) you definitely do not need to have children to visit these locations and

3) I will try my best to source walks as close to Chandlers Ford as possible, but if I find a little gem of a walk (like todays one at Lepe) that is further afield, then I will still share it, as then you have options!

Lepe Country Park

So the first thing you need to know about Lepe is the size of it and amount you can do there. There is an immense beach, cafe, brilliant park, grassy area and the walk. It is dog-friendly all year round which is great if, like me, you want to include your fur baby on all your adventures!

It is still classified as part of Southampton and isn’t far from Exbury Gardens. It is however on the outskirts of the New Forest so be advised that the journey can be slow in places.

It is one of those places where you can pop to for a quick walk only to find yourself still there 6 hours later, or you can literally pop down to stretch your legs!

It is a great location to visit for all members of the family. There is a great cafe, picnic benches, space to run around, the beach, a park and public toilets.

The Walk

So there are two walks that you can do here that take you from the same point. You can walk from the top car park and along the pathway signposted to the Lookout (as I have mapped here), or you can walk along the beach in parallel. When the tide is out it makes for a really lovely walk, just not that pushchair or wheelchair-friendly.

So from the top car park on the green, if you face the sea, you will notice a path heading away to the left. It is a gravel path and so pushchairs and wheelchairs can access it to, although it may get bumpy in places. The path runs pretty much parallel to the coastline and is just one single path so you literally can’t get lost. You walk past some sand dunes on the left and then just keep walking – I think it is a mile-long stretch which is lovely. It also has some historical WW2 features, information board and war memorial which is fascinating and interesting to read. The pace we walked it, as you can see was very slow as we were mooching, enjoying ourselves and reading lots!

Things to enjoy at Lepe:

1) Beach

Sandy in places and stony in others. hen the tide goes out it goes out a long way, but when it is in, there is no distance to walk at all to get to it.

2) Historical features

If you or your kids are at all interested in local places of interested and their role in WW2 then this is a good place to visit. There’s not a huge amount of infirmation, but it is really interesting all the same!

3) Park

This is a great park – all wooden structures and no garish plastic in sight. It is a good size and caters for all ages.

4) Cafe

Really great to have this option if you want a hot drink or meal. They do take out drinks as well which is great plus dogs are allowed inside.

5) Space

My kids think this beach is pretty much perfect on account of the sand, park and grassy area where my son can have a kick about. There”s quite a big green area which is great for ball games of all sorts.

6) Dog-friendly all year round

Many beaches have dog zones or restricted times that dogs can go on the beach. At Lepe they are welcomed all year around, and I love that!

7) Kite-flying

The grassy area is perfect for kite-flying. It gets a good amount of wind up there and there is enough space to spread outr from people.

8) Windsurfing / kiteboarding

Saw loads out at the weekend so I guess it is a good place for them to go from.

9) Events at school holidays

 If you keep an eye on their facebook page, they advertise various events and trails during school holidays.

10) Boat-watching

With Lepe being directly opposite Isle of Wight, as well as the proximity to Southampton and Portsmouth, there is no shortage of ships and boats sailing past. My kids love watching the cargo ships, especially as my geeky husband has an app which can identify the ships and the route they are taking. What’s not to love! 

11) Views over Isle of Wight

Last, but by no means least, is the views. Admitteldy, on a foggy day, you can’t see your hand in front of your face. But when the skies are clear then the views over the island are stunnning!

Things to watch out for at

Lepe:

1) Bins

There are none. It is one of those places that have chosen not to instal bins as would rather encourage people to take their rubbish home with them. And to be fair, it is not a littered place so people clearly respect that. It’s just worth bearing that in mind if you are planning on visiting with a picnic.

2) Parking

There are two car parks – one at the ‘top’ and one at the ‘bottom’ by the beach. Both have ample parking but it is worth bearing in mind, like all good places by the beach, they do get very busy in peak summer time! There is also a parking charge which you pay at the end.

3) Cafe

Don’t get me wrong – having a cafe is great whether you want a cold a cold drink and ice cream on a chot day, or a nice hot drink on a cold day. The only negative point is just how busy it gets and the amount of time you need to spend queuing!

4) One road in and out

 Doesn’t make it too problematic in the off-peak season, but can cause delays and jams in the height of summer if you rock up at midday!

Something else you might be interested in…