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.
2014 Terry Smith took these photos of the two gates we fitted at the Kench and says "We were only supplied with the gates, posts and hinges, not the additional posts and rails or wire required to construct the enclosure, which is why the results look a little unusual. Still, if you lean on the first gate there is a lovely view of the harbour!"
2014 A return to the island to fence off a newly cultivated area for ground nesting birds. Thanks to Anita for the photos.
2015 Accompanied by the calls of recently returned Brent Geese, here was a bit of traditional slash and burn at Gutner Point to reveal a water trough and space for a replacement fence. Thanks to Jenny for the pictures.
2017 White's Meadow. This is really a series of fields between the bendy Havant Road and the Hayling Billy trail. There was a bit of ragwort to sort out, but mostly we were finding gates buried in scrub and gaining access. In the process we found one field alive with bumblebees feeding on knapweed. Thanks to Terry Smith for the pictures.
Our next task will be at Sandy Point, clearing vegetation along a fence-line so that new fencing can be installed.
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. We will then drive down to Sandy Point. Look out for our yellow HCV flags.