Hayling Island in Hampshire is of course home to our very own coastal village – Lakeside, but there’s much more to this small island than meets the eye and it has a rich and varied history.
Despite the fact that it only covers about 10 square miles, Hayling plays a major role in bringing people to this part of the Hampshire coast. With their thatched cottages, winding country lanes and small shops, the villages of Northney and Stoke are picturesque and certainly very charming, but it is the area to the south of the island that tends to attract the most visitors thanks to its Blue Flag sandy beach, incredible sea views, grassy dunes and wildlife.
Bathing and watersports might be the order of the day now but at one time you might have been forced to take an unexpected dip when visiting Hayling Island – it wasn’t until 1824 that a permanent dry crossing to Langstone on the mainland was erected! A piece of timber from the original wadeway path was found to date back 3,000 years, so it’s clear people have been enjoying the beauty of Hayling for a very long time. The origin of the island’s name is Saxon and means the Island of Hegel’s People, but the Romans had crossed onto Hayling well before.
For obvious reasons the sea is right at the heart of life on Hayling and oysters began to be farmed here as early as 1891. The beds were restored in 1996 and have now become an important breeding site for seabirds. Pay a visit and you’ll be able to marvel at the array of wildlife and perhaps try some ‘chip shop fish and chips’ at The Chichester Cabaret Diner at Lakeside.
Learning about the history of Hayling is one thing but there’s no substitute for actually packing a bag and heading over yourself. Don’t worry though – there’s a permanent concrete road bridge in place now! Check out the latest breaks and details of all the facilities available on the main Lakeside Coastal Village page.