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Spithead is an area of the Solent and a roadstead off Gilkicker Point in Hampshire, England. It is protected from all winds, except those from the southeast. It receives its name from the Spit, a sandbank stretching south from the Hampshire shore for 5 km (3.1 mi); and it is 22.5 km (14.0 mi) long by about 6.5 km (4.0 mi) in average breadth. Spithead has been strongly defended since 1864 by four Solent Forts, which complement the Fortifications of Portsmouth.