Hayling Island

Wooden sea defences, Hayling Island
Wooden sea defences, Hayling Island

Hayling Island is a true island, completely surrounded by sea, about 6.5 kilometres long and 6.5 kilometres wideand is connected to the mainland by a road bridge at at Langstone. Before the bridge was built a small foot-passenger ferry connected it to the Eastney area of the city of Portsmouth but this ferry ceased operating in March 2015.

The natural beach at Hayling was predominantly sandy, but in recent years it has been mechanically topped with shingle dredged from the bed of the Solent in an effort to reduce beach erosion and reduce the potential to flood low-lying land. 

Although largely residential, Hayling is also a holiday resort, windsurfing and sailing centre, the site where windsurfing was invented. The Island hosts one of the few active Real Tennis courts in the UK. Founded in 1911, Seacourt Tennis club is one of only a handful in the UK where it is possible to play every recognised racquet sport. Sir Colin Cowdrey opened the racquets court itself. Hayling Golf Club has been voted in the top 100 golf courses in the UK. A traditional links course, although relatively short by modern standards, the strong prevailing south-westerly winds, fast greens, gorse bushes and traditional deep links bunkers make this a stern test for any golfer.

Funland, an amusement park situated at Beachlands, is open year round, as is the East Hayling Light Railway, which runs from the funfair to Eastoke corner. The East Hayling Light Railway is a 2 foot gauge railway that runs for just over 1 mile from Beachlands Station to Eastoke Corner.

The 5 mile Hayling Billy Trail is a former light rail right-of-way which has been converted to one of many footpaths on the island.

We tend to stay on the seafront at Hayling when visiting with my family as there is nowhere else nearer or maybe that’s just the excuse we give ourselves as we do love to wake up in the morning and walk the dogs along the front and go to sleep at night with the sound of the waves crashing against the shingle.