The sandy beach at Greatstone is quite flat and stretches from north to south for over two miles, and is frequently 'washed' by the tide of the English Channel.
More than anything else, the beach has been the main reason that Greatstone village exists as ever since 'going to the seaside' has been popular people have visited Greatstone.
Greatstone beach has drawn holiday makers from far and wide. It provides safe sea bathing in the haven of Romney Bay and miles of fine sand to build all the castles you want, play beach sports, have a swim in the sea or just laze around.
The fresh winds that often occur in Greatstone, together with the flat sandy beach devoid of groynes, makes the beach popular with a whole range of sports that use the wind.
Enjoying a picnic
Given the flatness of the beach and a maximum tidal range of nearly 7 metres, the difference between high tide and low tide can be almost ½ mile.
This means that if you come to Greatstone to particularly have a swim in the sea, it is best to pay your visit from between about half tide to full high tide.
Please go to our Tide Times page to find out the tide times for today and the next 28 days.
Greatstone Dunes separate the beach and sea from the land along almost the whole length of Greatstone. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with many rare species of plants.
For more information please see Greatstone Dunes.
Walk through the dunes to the beach and sea
Animals on the Beach
You can walk your dog on the beach but certain areas are closed to dogs from 1 May to 30 September. For more information please see Dogs on Beaches.
The long stretches of flat firm sand can also suit horse riding and horse buggys.
Caution There are two distinct areas of the beach:
- the relatively firm sand nearest the shore and,
- the soft mud with mudholes as you approach the sea.
The different physical appearance between the two is clear and horses should be kept to the sand area and the mud area should be avoided.
In July 2010 a horse got stuck in the soft mud and had to put down. More information
You will see a variety of birds on the beach, particularly when the tide is going out as this seems to be a popular time to feed.
For more information about birds please see our Birdwatching on Romney Marsh page.
The fresh winds that often occur in Greatstone, together with the flat sandy beach, makes the beach popular with a whole range of sports that use the wind.
You will find kite surfers on the sea and kite flying, kite boarding, kite buggys and land yachting on the beach. Indeed, Greatstone is deemed to be one of the finest land yachting sites in the UK. You can find out more about land yachting on Greatstone Beach on our Land Yachting page.
Oystercatchers feeding time
The Varne Boat & Social Club in Greatstone offers facilities for motor boats, sailing and jet ski. Access to the foreshore is via their own private slipway, which is constantly monitored and kept clear of shingle. The Varne has four launch vehicles, which move the boats from the compound down the slipway.
For more information please visit the Varne Boat & Social Club website.
Around high tide, sea fishing from the beach is popular. Whiting, school bass, pouting, eels, flounder, sole and rockling all frequent the sea off Greatstone. The sea bed is rich in lugworms, which are regularly collected when the tide is out and used as bait.
The Varne club (above) has a fishing section for those who like to fish from a boat. You can find out more about fishing on our Fishing on Romney Marsh page.
There are two pay and display car parks in Greatstone, adjacent to the beach. One is in Coast Drive, opposite to Clark Road, and the other is in The Parade, opposite to Dunes Road.
See Greatstone Map
There are public toilets adjacent to the car park in the Parade. They are open 8am to 7pm from 1 May to 30 September, and 8am to 5pm from 1 October to 30 April. See Greatstone Map.
Barbecues on the Beach
There is no by-law prohibiting people from having barbecues on the beach. However, please remove all evidence of the barbecue when done by disposing of all litter, including barbecue remains, in a responsible way.
Please take extra care with any remaining charcoal embers that may still be hot. There have been instances of the hot charcoal setting light to litters bins and, even worse, causing burn injuries to young children. Anyone leaving barbecue remains on the beach can be fined under the litter laws.
Horse Trotting on Greatstone Beach