In recent years, birds have frequently been disturbed on this part of the beach, with over 80 percent being related to a dog’s presence or behaviour.
The new protected zone will create a safe haven for migrating birds at the western end of the beach, running from the Hill Head Sailing Club to the end of the beach huts on the promenade, between 1 October and 31 March each year.
The two dog exclusion zones along Hill Head beach occur at different times of the year, meaning that there would only ever be one exclusion zone in effect at any one time. A section of the beach will be available for dogs all year and dog walkers will still be able to use the walkway in front of the beach huts during exclusion times.
Executive Member for Health and Public Protection at Fareham Borough Council, Cllr Joanne Burton, said: “Hill Head is so important for the conservation of birds, yet it also experiences high visitor footfall and recreational activity. There will always be areas where residents can walk their dogs along the coast at Hill Head, but it cannot be to the detriment of our coastal wildlife. I am delighted to be bringing in this dog exclusion zone to safeguard our coastal birds.”
Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire, the body that oversees Bird Aware, added: “I am so pleased that this protected zone has been introduced to provide a safe refuge for birds. This section of Hill Head beach is a vital feeding spot for birds such as dunlin, which are on the red list for conservation concern. This new seasonal dog exclusion zone will help safeguard the future of the coastal birds which spend the winter on our shores every year, while ensuring suitable access is maintained for local residents.”