Hill Head is an unspoilt village situated at the mouth of the river Meon and a close neighbour of Lee-on-Solent. Hill Head boasts a combination of a small yacht haven, a National Nature Reserve, ideal conditions for wind surfing and kit surfing and also one of the best kept secrets for shore fishing until now!
Until late in the 16th century, the River Meon was navigable as far as Titchfield, which at that time was a significant port. However silting started to restrict the passage of ships, and in order to maintain Titchfield’s status as a port, the Earl of Southampton proposed that a canal should be constructed. This canal opened in 1611 and was only the second canal existing in Britain at the time. Unfortunately the canal also suffered from silting and the sea trade moved to nearby Southampton and Portsmouth. As part of the construction of the canal, the outfall of the River Meon to the sea was dammed, creating the wetlands that now form the nature reserve.
During World War II, Hill Head was one of many loading zones for the D-Day invasions and the area was inundated with allied troops. Along the coast here there are still many reminders of the war time activities including remnants of fortifications. Part of a Mulberry harbour broke away and was grounded at Hill Head beach. It remained there for many years.
Hill Head’s Salterns beach is one of the south coast’s leading venues for watersports including windsurfing and kitesurfing, and is the home of Seafarers Sailing Club. Just to the west is Hill Head Sailing Club.
Between 1985 and 1990, Hill Head’s beaches featured in the popular BBC TV show Howards’ Way, which was mostly filmed at nearby Bursledon, Hamble-le-Rice, Warsash and Swanwick.