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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Sunday Walk: A Sunday [Seal Watch] (hopefully) Walk on Thorney Island

SWC 180:  Southbourne to Emsworth via Thorney Island t=swc.180

Distance: 9.8 miles or 15.8 km for those more metrically minded (with an option to extend by finishing in Havant which adds 2.4 miles/3.8 km)

Difficulty:         1 out of 10

Transport:       Take the 9:33 AM Southern train bound for Havant from London Victoria (Clapham 9:40; East Croydon 9:51), arriving in Southbourne at 11:29. Return trains from Emsworth are at 16:21, 16:36, 16:54, 17:21,17:36, 17:45, 18:21, 18:36 and 18:54. By a day return to Emsworth or Havant (if you would like extra flexibility for the return).

So, I recently learned that Chichester Harbor is home to a reasonable-sized colony of harbor seals who are often seen on the mud flats between Thorney Island and Hayling Island around mid-tide.  As most of the stars are aligning for this outing today…thought it would be good to give it a go – especially as the path around Thorney Island should be largely mud-free (a special treat in mid-January). The route is an easy to follow map-led one that basically circumnavigates Thorney Island (starting on the East side). For those interested in a longer walk, after some refreshies in charming Emsworth, it is possible to follow the Solent Way along a pretty stretch of coast and then the Shipwrights Way up to Havant Station (see map for details).

More information about the walk can be found here. Please either print out the map from the "Map" tab or download the GPX file from the "GPS" tab.

Lunch/Brunch:  The recommended lunch/brunch stop is the Travellers Joy less than a kilometer from Southbourne Station, so would suggest planning an early lunch/brunch before setting off for the Island – this will also allow for the tide to reach the optimum viewing time of mid-tide (about 3:00pm give or take)….

Tea: There are various refreshment options available in Emsworth, see the walk notes for details….

Enjoy the walk and don't forget to bring binoculars!


Anonymous said...

I'd like to join the walk tomorrow to Thorney Island and I am wondering if some of you is leaving from Victoria station to buy a group saving ticket? Thanks. Cinzia

Anonymous said...

Can anyone advise please whether this walk sometimes suffers from NO access via the 2 gates? Sadly I can't make today but would like to use the route another time. Thanks for any advice on this.

Andrew said...

access is always allowed. you might be asked to show id. i wasn't, but its best to take it.

David Colver said...

About n=15 on a day of w=bright_sunshine. Around half of the group had lunch at the Traveller's Joy just 1km into the walk, the food good in quality and quantity and served with a warm welcome. Four pulled ahead and made the 1621 train, cutting out the final twiddle around Emsworth.

That quartet included an Italian speaker from whom we learned that the word for seal in her language is foca. On this occasion, the focas chose not to make an appearance. What was evident was rather more mud than advertised; not particularly deep, but along long stretches of narrow paths from which there was no escape. As a result the walk felt heavier going than the rated 1/10.

Also seen were some spectacular skies, a sea bream freshly caught and a very appealing Shetland pony, just one year old and not much bigger than a large dog, being led by two young girls through the Emsworth marina.

Walker said...

To answer the earlier query about access to the army base: you come to a gate, watched over by CCTV cameras. There is a buzzer on an intercom that you have to press. But when you do, the gate opens. Same procedure on the way out.

It is a bit weird being in the army base, with stern injunctions every now and again not to leave the sea wall. There is otherwise no fence between you and it, but at one or two points there were other people - families, children - walking about inland, sometimes just twenty or thirty metres away. Since they were obviously not keeping to the sea wall, I can only assume these are the families of base personnel. The slippy mud apart, this was a pleasant and varied walk, with a very "away from it all" feel. Though we did not see seals, we saw lots of Brent geese, and the whole way were entertained by the piping of oystercatchers and the haunting cries of curlew. On the beach where the seals weren't, some 500 dunlin (tiny white water's edge waders) assembled as the tide went down, ready to dash out and have dinner, occasionally erupting into the air in hypnotic patterns.