I’ve to admit that I’ve never walked the whole trail but the part on Hayling Island only, which is about 6 miles return. The original trails starts at Havant town centre. The path on Hayling Island is in a very good condition and suitable for walking and cycling. The path offers you a lot of history, sea and nature.
If you want to follow my path, get over the Langstone Bridge onto Hayling Island. Just after you’ve passed the bridge and a gas station to the left, there is a small car park to the right from where you can start.
The trail is named after the Hayling Island Branch Line which was the railway connection to get to the island until the 1960ies.
For those who are interested in the history of the Hayling Billy Trail and the island, there are some info boards along the way.
At some point, the path will give you the option to do a small detour. If you go through the gate, you’ll get closer to the coast, the old oyster beds and you’ll have the opportunity to do some birdwatching.
Something which surprised me quite a lot is, that Hayling Island had oyster farms. As you walk along the path you can see some remains of the old oysterbeds and a small sculpture of an oyster. Again, there are some info boards explaining the history of oyster farming on Hayling Island.
As you continue, there is often the opportunity to take a detour and walk on the beach and return to the main path later on. The main path is quicker and more silent than walking on the pebbled beach but I simply love to walk on the beach.
No matter whether it is lovely summer day or a cold winter day, I simply enjoy this walk!
The official trail does not go down to the south coast but if you carry on for about half a mile after it ended you’ll reach the seafront of Hayling Island with a beach cafe, a small amusement park and a Wimpy restaurant. I never had a Wimpy burger but I was told it is a ‘must try’. Well, last time we got there, they didn’t serve any hot food or drinks… another good reason to go back.