Distant ships and sun, Southsea

Portsmouth to Hayling Island walk

20-Jan-18 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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The old rail bridge, Hayling Island

Portsmouth to Hayling Island walk

20-Jan-18 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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View from the Royal Oak towards Halyling Island Causeway

19-Jul-16 • Andrew Murphy on Flickr

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Chapel Musum photos

19-Jul-16 • Andrew Murphy on Flickr

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Entrance to chapel and local museum

19-Jul-16 • Andrew Murphy on Flickr

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View from beach back towards the Ferry Inn

19-Jul-16 • Andrew Murphy on Flickr

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View from Ferry In beach

19-Jul-16 • Andrew Murphy on Flickr

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Portsmouth to Havant or Eastoke Point via Hayling Island walk

Portsmouth Harbour, Southsea promenande, Eastney Beach, a ferry to Hayling Island, quiet beaches. Either continue to Eaststoke Point, or head inland along a disused railway path alongside Langstone Harbour.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Tue, 29-Jan-19

Date # Post
Sat, 22-Sep-18 9

Saturday walk - Portsmouth to Hayling Island

Length: 20.1km (13 miles) or 17.8km (11.1 miles)
Toughness: 1 out of 10: flat

9.30 train from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour, arriving 11.08.

From Clapham Junction get the 9.27 Crewkerne/Bristol train to Woking, arriving 9.45, to connect with the above train at 9.55.

Buy a day return to Portsmouth Harbour

There are no walk directions, but none are really needed (except briefly at the start). A map of the route can be seen here or a GPX file downloaded here. For more details about the walk see here.

I kind of implied that last week’s very successful Lewes to Saltdean walk would be our last seaside outing of the summmer season, but this is a bit of unfinished business. A bunch of us did this walk back in January and thought then it would make a good summer walk. Now that the RMT strikes on South Western have finally finished there is a chance to post it.

It is a seaside walk rather than a country walk - you could wear trainers rather than boots. You start by walking along the ramparts at the mouth of Portsmouth Harbour and then you follow the seaside promenade with fine views of the Solent and all of its shipping. A swim might be possible at some point here. (It will be high tide at the start of the walk, falling to low tide at 4pm.)

Things gradually get greener and quieter and in due course you come to the Hayling Ferry which takes you across to the island of that name. This leaves at 12.00, 12.40, 13.20, 14.00 (etc: every 40 minutes) and costs £5.50. (Those on the walk in January who kept their tickets can ride free as the fare automatically includes a second journey).

Once on the island things get wilder. There are two lunch options here - the Ferryboat Inn and the Inn on the Beach - it was the latter we launched at in January and were very impressed. Both establishments, as far as I can gather, serve food all afternoon. There may also be earlier seaside cafes in Southsea, before the ferry crossing.

At or near the Inn on the Beach, you have a choice: the recommended route (the 13 mile walk) is to turn northwards along the edge of Hayling Island along the route of an old railway line, a pleasant green route with good views of the sea. Eventually you cross a bridge to the mainland. The walk route here suggests carrying on to Havant, but in January we turned right to follow a very pretty path to the historic and picturesque coastal town of Emsworth.

A shorter 11 mile walk continues after lunch along the southern coast of Hayling Island. You can get bus number 30/31 back from Eastoke at the east end of the seafront to Havant bus station next to the railway station at 18, 28, 49 and 58 past until 17.58, then 19, 33 and 59 past till late.

Trains back from Havant to Waterloo (do not get the slower ones to Victoria) are at 04, 17 and 34 past the hour (though at 17.24 instead of 17.34), with a slower train at 40 past.

Trains back from Emsworth are at 17, 28 and 35 past to Waterloo via a change at Havant or 18 and 58 past to Victoria (the 58 is direct, the 18 requires a change at Chichester), with journey times of around an hour and three quarters either way. Your Portsmouth return is definitely valid on the Victoria service and should be accepted for the short hop from Emsworth to Havant.

Near End when you get off Hayling Island on to the mainland at Langstone there is The Ship and the the Royal Oak on the right. Both do food and coffee as well as Fullers (Ship) and Greene King (Royal Oak). They are both lovely pubs, slightly favour the Royal Oak for character of pub.
In Havant there is a plethora of cafes, however might not be open when you get there.
If you walk along the old railway track which takes you from Langstone to the Station. If you exit the old railway track at East Street, at the Bridge by the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre might be open for coffee/drinks. Then walk into town going west along East Street.
The best pub in Havant is The Old House at Home (Fullers/Gales and good food) in South Street at the main cross roads by St Faiths Church. Also Robin Hood, 6 Homewell, across from the Church of St. Faiths.

9 brave souls on this walk, despite a dismal weather forecast. It all started well, with some brightness in the cloud and pleasant views of the Solent and its shipping. The rain was initially fairly light and intermittent.

Things went downhill (not literally: the walk is entirely flat) after the Hayling Island ferry, which we reached at 12.40. The rain became persistent and by the time we got to the Inn on the Beach just after 2pm one walker had had enough and quit the scene. Seven of us had lunch in this wonderful venue, built on the beach with wide sea views, while one had drinks.

Spirits sagged during lunch nevertheless. Three walkers decided afterwards to take the bus to Havant, wisely in view of their lack of heavy rain gear. Five of us continued up the side of Hayling Island, but one dropped out halfway, presumably to also get the bus. Four of us carried on, enjoying entrancing marsh views but in now persistent rain which delighted in finding cracks in our outerwear and boots.

Crossing the bridge to Langstone we repaired with gratitude to the Ship Inn for drinks (tea and a pud for me). Seditious talk about Ubers broke out here which yours truly managed to quell with difficulty. In the end we carried on with the lovely but solidly wet two mile walk to Emsworth, catching the 7.28pm train home.

Sigh! Having done this walk in the wet in February we had hoped for better from doing it in “summer”. Next year, maybe.

Just to say as a personal note, I saw approximately 50 house martins feeding (in the rain!) over a pond near the top of Hayling Island, and then 70 80 swallows over Emsworth Harbour. Both groups certainly migrating south, and almost certainly en route from further north. Swallow, house martin and swift numbers have been absolutely pitiful in the UK this year and it was heartening to see so many of both species in one place. I wish them a successful migration, a trouble free winter under the African sun, and please do come back here to breed next year.
Sat, 20-Jan-18 6

Saturday Walk A [mud-free] exploration of Hayling Island -- Portsmouth Harbour to Havant or Emsworth

SWC 179: Historic Portsmouth Harbour; a ferry ride and the exploration of Hayling Island T=swc.179

Train: Take the 9:00 AM Portsmouth Harbour train from London Waterloo to its final destination, arriving at 10:33 AM. There are a number of return trains from both Havant and Emsworth each hour, the faster ones (generally to Waterloo) from Havant are at 17:04; 17:26; 17:30 (Victoria); 17:40; 18:04; 18:34; 18:40; 19:04; 19:34; 19:40; 20:04; 20:34; 20:40 and 21:04 and from Emsworth (requiring a change at Havant) 17:00; 17:15; 18:15; 19:15 and 20:20. Buy a day return to Portsmouth Harbour.

Distance: 13 miles (20.9 in new money) or, to Emswoth, 14 miles (22.5 in new money)

Difficulty: 1 out of 10

Admittedly, this walk may not be considered entirely a country walk, but, in the midst of mud season, it should make for a varied and hopefully interesting mud-free day. The route starts in historic Portsmouth harbour and explores a number of interesting historical points along the seafront promenade to Eastney from where you catch the Hayling Island ferry (£5:50). During the winter, the ferry runs hourly on the hour, I would suggest aiming for the 1:00 PM ferry.

Once on Hayling Island there is a choice of routes after lunch, but, the recommended one would be to follow a disused railway line alongside Langstone Harbour eventually back to the mainland along a causeway. Once across the causeway, a further choice presents itself – either following the suggested route to Havant or veering right to follow the Solent Way for a slightly longer map-based route to Emsworth. More information on the walk can be found here. There do not appear to be detailed written instructions for this walk, so I would suggest printing the information page which describes a suggested route (and some options) and the OS map from the website. Notwithstanding the lack of written text, the route looks fairly straight forward….

There are two options for lunch: the Ferryboat Inn (https://www.classicinns.co.uk/theferryboatinnhaylingisland/food-and-drink/ 02392 463 459) on the Hayling Island side of the ferry or the Inn on the Beach (www.innonthebeach.co.uk/foodanddrink/ 02392 460 043) a further 2 kilometers along at the main decision point. Tea or late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Royal Oak just across the causeway or numerous places in either Havant or Emsworth.

Enjoy the walk!
Was there a sixth walker? Five got off the train at Portsmouth Harbour and five did the walk, but other members of the party insist they recognised a sixth, who sped off. We saw him on the ramparts but he did not acknowledge us and he walked off alone. I say this does not count, but I was outvoted. So 6.

Other potential walkers were doubtless deterred by the dismal weather forecast. But in fact early drizzle soon stopped and it was dry with enticing orange skies far out to sea. Rays of silvery sun from this magical realm reached us from time to time, glittering on the waves all rather atmospheric (see Facebook: I shall post some photos there later).

After threading our way through Portsmouth’s waterside shopping centre we got to the ramparts at the mouth of the harbour and then proceeded south on Southsea’s beach promenade. This is surprisingly nice, backed by large green parks. At one point our walk poster even had a paddle.

On to the Hayling Ferry. We arrived just as it docked but had to wait 20 minutes for it to depart time spent chatting with the captain. It is a very short crossing and costs £5.50 but you get a second trip ticket for this, redeemable when you like.

On the far side, the island is much wilder an interesting place. Grassy turf, pebble beaches, pounding waves. (It was high tide: how different all this would look at low tide, I do not know). On the advice of our poster and a local we avoided the pub by the ferry to push on to the Inn on the Beach. This was a glorious place. Re opened a year ago it has first floor dining areas with huge windows and lovely sea views. Nice grub. Pleasant service. A real treat.

As we ate that sunny area out to sea seemed to be getting closer. Would the cloud clear to a sunny afternoon to make the rest of you jealous? Reader, it did not. Instead it started to rain with enthusiasm. Eventually the moment could not be put off and we set off, waterproofed up, to walk the old railway line route up the west of the island. A lovely walk this, full of natural interest oyster catchers, curlews and with lovely sea views. But sadly also rain lashed. So overall the weather for the day was brightish in the morning but rainy in the afternoon

At the top of the island you cross the road bridge to the mainland. A very cute waterside village here Langstone had a cosy and inviting pub which I yearned to enter. But stern Stargazer snatched us away (all but one of us: one had already headed towards Havant station) to walk in the gathering gloom some 4km along the coast to Emsworth. This walk has nice coastal bits but also some fields of slithery mud: our only encounter with this substance today.

Arriving there as the dusk deepened to night, we chose a very quaint, not to say eccentric, Italian themed coffee shop cum greetings card shop for tea and then went to get the 18.29 train. A very nice day out, and one I hope to repeat on a sunny day in summer when it can be punctuated by lots of sea swims.
Sun, 04-Sep-16

Sunday Second Walk - Historic Portsmouth, sandy beaches and a ferry ride

Extra Walk 179 Portsmouth to Havant via Hayling Island
Length: 21km (13 miles) Toughness: 1/10

09:30 Portsmouth Harbour train from Waterloo (Clapham Junction 09:30) arriving at Portsmouth Harbour at 11:13.

Fast return trains from Havant to Waterloo are at xx:50 (journey time 1 hour 24 minutes) and there’s a slower, stopping service at xx:07. Buy a £16 South West Trains promotional day return.

While summer lasts, here’s a walk with ample opportunities for a swim. The re-launch of the much-missed Hayling Ferry on 5th August means that the intended route of this easy coastal walk now becomes practicable again. From Portsmouth’s historic harbour the route goes along Southsea promenade and Eastney naturist beach to a short ferry ride to Hayling Island where a disused railway path is followed around Langstone Harbour to Havant. An alternative option on Hayling Island is to continue along seaward-facing sandy beaches to Sandy Point Reserve and then catch a bus to Havant (buses leave at xx:23 until 17:23, then last bus at 18:53). Check the ferry times on the Hayling Ferry website – it is timed to run every 40 minutes at present (e.g. 12:40, 13:20, 14:00).

Two possible lunch pubs are the Ferryboat Inn on the Hayling Island side of the ferry, or the Inn on the Beach, about 2.5km further on.

Walk directions are not really needed for this simple coastal walk, but further information can be found on the SWC Walk 179 page.
Sat, 15-Mar-14 4 Havant to Portsmouth Harbour