We enjoyed a visit to the island, which is to the southeast of Hampshire, just east of Portsmouth. It’s connected to the mainland by both road bridge and ferry. We popped into a café at the marina for brekkie and then headed out on two wheels on the famous Hayling Billy Trail, a disused railway line running along most of the west coast of the island. 🚴 ☕ 🌊

Hayling Island’s Salt Shack Café 🍴

We were after a quick brekkie with a nice view and with a first-time visit to this spot, pleased to say it fitted the bill. It’s just a few minutes as you cross over the bridge on the north of the island, and you park up and walk through the marina area with views looking down onto the pontoons with plenty of nice yachts.

They have two areas for indoor seating, one pre-booked and another a smaller area with beach vibes which is playing vintage upbeat music and walls adorned with local coastal artwork which you can also buy. We had some nice coffees with the local Northney farm milk as well as an avocado and egg bap of good size.

Their menu advertised a BBQ-cooked breakfast which we thought was interesting and on checking their website, it made sense as the owner Michelle, who is originally from South Africa and keen to share a social custom from her part of the world – the ‘Braai’.

📍Northney Marina, Hayling Island PO11 0NH

Dogs welcome

🅿️Free parking

Hayling Billy Trail 🛤️ 🚂

We’ve been meaning to do this one for a while and it didn’t disappoint!

It’s a fully off-road track, nice and flat with amazing views on route, therefore fantastic for families, particularly young children just starting out on bikes. 5 miles round trip which are all off-road, riding to the south of the island and back again. It’s a popular trail for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders as demonstrated today and it has very diverse landscapes on route.

The trail took us riding right along the waterside so despite the odd rain shower, we loved the views, it was low tide but there was plenty to see, including right over to the Portsmouth skyline and the huge spinnaker tower rising above. It was pretty muddy and wet in parts, but it made for part of the fun too. Spring flowers coming out including bluebells and plenty of families and visitors to the island enjoying it too.

The history of the railway, it last was in use in 1963 and served the community for well over a hundred years. There were plenty of info boards on route, both on the history and local wildlife in view such as the birds that are attracted to the local coastline and countryside. We also passed a pillbox from WW2 and learned there were over 25 on the island and we spotted two more on our cycle including one on the golf course which was an interesting sight. The hayling billy railway also once transported the fresh oysters of the island which were farmed until the 1970s. 

When we got to the end of the short one-way route, we did an extended ride as it was only five mins more riding, mostly on the quiet residential road, and you will come to the very south of the island with the expanse of beaches, most of which have lovely colourful beach huts on. We sat on the pebbles and enjoyed watching the yachts in the distance as well as the windsurfers as it’s a very popular spot for the sport.

Moving on, we rode just under ten minutes or so on the quiet road and arrived at the southwest corner of the beach where you can also take a ferry to Eastney Point on Portsea Island. There’s a nice pub called the Ferryboat inn you can pop in for a pint, but we were after a hot chocolate and found a nice one with cream and marshmallows at the beach café there which had good views across the harbour which also hosts a large concrete structure serving a big reminder to Hayling Island’s role in World War two.

Time to head back to the start of our route and from the southwest of the island back to our car park in the north island, back along the Hayling Billy Trail it was 8.5k according to our Strava.

🅿️PO11 0LW-The car park is free but has limited spaces. It’s opposite the applegreen garage

This all-weather route makes for the perfect family bike ride in Hampshire any time of the year.

Find the trail map on the Hampshire County Council website: https://www.hants.gov.uk/rh/cycling/hayling-billy.pdf

If you don’t fancy the bike ride, or if you’ve done it before and want something a bit different, check out our other Hayling Island post!

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