Lepe Country Park is a marvellous place to visit... with an attractive coastline, nature reserves, country walks and a unique historic heritage. The futuristic restaurant, "The Lookout", provides fascinating views over the western Solent. For full information on things to do and exciting events to attend please view the Lepe Country Park web site. However, if you are thinking of going into the water or out on the sea there are some things you should know...
Does the Isle of Wight look very close? If you answered "yes" you are correct! Between Stansore Point in Lepe Park and Gurnard on the Isle of Wight the Solent is much narrower than almost anywhere else. That is why lots of cables and gas pipes between the mainland and the Isle of Wight cross the Solent off Lepe. You can see the pairs of yellow "leading marks" that show how they are aligned. It is illegal to anchor a boat in this part of the Solent.
Because the Solent is narrow off Lepe the tides are very strong. As the tides come in and out, all that water has to squeeze through the narrow gap between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. This causes very strong currents quite close inshore to the Lepe beaches. Take care; if you swim too far out or go out in a boat you might find yourself being swept along by the tide. If that does happen, don't try to fight the current; head for the shore and walk back! At Stansore Point and Lepe Spit there are very strong currents right up to the beach edge. To find out more about the currents look at our page "Currents off Lepe Country Park".
Don't swim or wade off Lepe Spit. While it is interesting to walk along Lepe Spit when it is dry, it is very dangerous even to paddle in shallow water if it is flowing over the spit. The currents are very strong and there is deep water to either side of the spit - especially to the west. It would be very easy to stumble or be simply swept off ones feet - and when the current is at its strongest even an Olympic swimmer would struggle to make any headway against it.
The "Family Beach" in front of "The Lookout" cafe is more gently shelving than elsewhere in the park, but even here you should "Respect the Water". Children should be supervised - remember there are no RNLI Lifeguards on duty!
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