OS Landranger Map 197
Client: Martin Jewell, Hampshire County Council, Countryside Service
HCC own and manage various sites on Hayling Island. The Hayling Billy Coastal Path is a footpath, bridlepath and cycleway which runs along the eastern shoreline of Langstone Harbour, following the route of the former Hayling Billy railway. It now forms part of the Shipwrights Way, a long-distance path which goes from Alice Holt Forest to Portsmouth Dockyard, symbolizing the transportation of oak from the forest for ship-building. A more realistic route for timber would have avoided Hayling Island, either going by land onto Portsea Island or using a ship to get from Langstone to the dockyard.
Some fields alongside the path are also managed by HCC.
Near the south-western tip of the island alongside Ferry Road is The Kench, a shallow tidal inlet which is used by many birds as a feeding area while the tide is out. At high tide a shingle ridge between the inlet and the main harbour is used as a roost by waders. (Map reference SZ692994)
Gutner Point is an area of meadows and salt marsh on the eastern side of Hayling Island on the shores of Chichester Harbour. The area is important for many species of birds that come here to feed and breed. This alongside the hay meadows with their assemblage of wild flowers and associated invertebrates make the area a haven for wildlife.(Map reference SU735019)
Sandy Point Nature Reserve lies in the south-eastern corner of Hayling Island at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, and covers 17 hectares of grassland and scrub. It has a rich mosaic of grassland types, including the salty remnants of a creek, acidic sandy heathland, and chalky soil resulting from shell debris mixing with sand. Near the beach are vegetated sand dunes, though these are easily destroyed by storms. With no public access, fragile lichens are able to survive on the ground. More robust plants include Sea Holly and Sharp Rush, which has dangerously sharp points. The reserve is part of Chichester Harbour SSSI, and is managed by Hampshire County Council. Cattle are used to graze the site, supplemented by gorse and bramble cutting. (Map reference SZ747984)
On our visits in September 2013 we put up stock fencing alongside the road at The Kench, not to keep livestock in but to deter parking along the shoreline. A short section of fencing was added across the base of a shingle spit to stop dogs and people disturbing birds. From the photo taken a week later it has clearly been subjected to some high tides. Later visits have been to install fencing on fields near the Hayling Billy trail and elsewhere.
In July we will be clearing ragwort on Tip Field, a short way down the Hayling Billy trail from the car park.
Meet at 10am in the car park on the right-hand side just after crossing the bridge onto the Island. The turning is just past the applegreen garage (formerly Texaco) on the left-hand side. Look out for our yellow HCV flags.