Length: 13.7 km/8.5 mi or
19.4 km/12.0 mi or
21.2 km/13.2 mi [add up to 3.8 km
for three small extensions en route]
Ascent/Descent: negligible or negligible or 140m
Net Walking Time: ca. 3 hours or 4 hours or 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 1 out of 10 or 2 out of 10 or 3 out of 10
Take the 09.33 Portsmouth Harbour train
from London Victoria
(CJ 09.40, EC 09.49), arrives Southbourne 11.29
take the 09.30 Portsmouth Harbour train from London Waterloo
(CJ 09.39, Woking 10.04), change Havant (10.56/11.18), arrives Southbourne 11.24
Finishing in Emsworth: returns are xx.21 to Victoria and xx.32 and xx.44/54 to Waterloo via Havant. Buy a return to the station furthest away from your start point (Emsworth from Victoria, Southbourne from Waterloo) or a Havant return (via any permitted route), meaning you can take any return to Victoria or Waterloo.
Finishing in Havant or Rowlands Castle: returns from Havant are xx.07 and xx.50 to Waterloo and xx.18 to Victoria, from Rowlands Castle they are hourly on xx.13. Buy a Havant return (via any permitted route).
This is a (map-led) coastal walk along a peaceful and remote sea wall around Thorney Island, a peninsular in tidal Chichester Harbour, with an option to visit the sand dunes and beach of Pilsey Island. This is a very short and flat walk, the only ascent being provided on an extension to Rowlands Castle along the Sussex Border Path, initially through suburbia then commons and woods.
The coastal path is part of the Sussex Border Path, and this section of it is maintained by the army - the lower half of Thorney Island is an army base. The coastal path is always open. Access is easy, but strictly regulated, at 2 remote controlled gates with CCTV (one on the east, one on the west of the island). You may have to give your name or show ID on the way in, on the path, or on the way out, on the other side of the island. In practise this isn't a problem.
The 2 highlights of the walk are both excellent picnic spots:
· the well-tended West Thorney church, in a picturesque coastal position
· Pilsey Island, an RSPB reserve, and despite the name, a peninsular, connected to Thorney Island. It’s at the south east tip of Thorney Island, the mid-point of the walk. Its eastern side is salt marsh which is closed to the public (except for a landing stage for boats). The western side, with public access, has a sandy beach, backed by sand dunes, with a very large expanse of sand at low tide. You can walk out to the southern tip of the island, along the beach, or inland through the sand dunes along a car-wide path that leaves the main Thorney Island coast path.
The walk is mostly open, but along the southern 'coast', there are a couple of short sections when the path is away from the coast or enclosed by tall vegetation.
Add 1.5 km for an out-and-back to Pilsey Island.
Add 1.2 km for the 'Pretty Option' in Emsworth along a picturesque tidal lake.
Add up to 1.1 km near the end for a meander through Brook Meadow Local Nature Reserve.
An Alternative Finish in Havant, following the shoreline along the Solent Way, adds 5.7 km/3.5 mi.
An Alternative Finish in Rowlands Castle, mostly through woods, adds 7.3 km/4.5 mi.
Lunch/Tea: Picnic or The Traveller's Joy
(a Fuller’s pub near the start, a little off route on the A 259, food 12.00-20.00), or numerous options in Emsworth
and in Rowlands Castle
, height profile, photos
and gpx/kml files