Haylink: a North-South Hayling Cycle Link

Cyclists wanting to travel from the north of Hayling Island to the south have no easy route. All of the schools and shops and other amenities of south Hayling can only be reached by using the main A3023 Havant Road between Yew Tree Road and Kings Road. This section of the A3023 is very busy, especially during peak hours, and therefore intimidating to all but the most experienced and confident cyclists. As a consequence very few bike riders attempt this journey. The result is that many of the cyclist community in the Northney area are virtually cut off from South Hayling. Additionally any cyclists using this part of this main thoroughfare cause traffic tailbacks, as a result:

  • Motorists crawl at the cyclist’s speed until they can pass safely
  • Motorists attempt to pass unsafely, risking a collision with the cyclist or on-coming traffic
  • Cyclists resort to using pavements illegally, risking collisions with pedestrians

Hayling needs Haylink, a North-South Cycle Link separating cyclists from motorists and acting as a vital stepping stone for developing cycling routes around the rest of the Island.

The links below explore the benefits and issues of a North-South off-road cycle link.

If you would like to know more, please contact Robert Sebley at robert@cyclehayling.org.uk or Wilf Forrow at Wilf@cyclehayling.org.uk.


Segregating vulnerable road users from the rest means they are kept out of harm’s way. Motorists won’t be so frustrated by slow-moving traffic and will be less tempted to try dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. More residents and island visitors will use bicycles and traffic congestion, road noise and exhaust fumes pollution would all be reduced.

The consequences of a collision between a cyclist and a vehicle can be extremely serious for the cyclist and traumatic for the motorist.

Many cyclists are worried about cycling on the road, especially one with heavy traffic volumes such as the A2023, and so they resort – illegally – to cycling on the pavement.

Some pedestrians are intimidated by pavement-cycling and some of their comments echo cyclists feelings about motorists. It is therefore important to do what we can to reduce pressures to cycle on pavements. A North-South off-road cycle link would help a great deal.

A better North-South cycle link would encourage more people to cycle to work. That will mean less cars on the road at busy times.

That’s particularly welcome as new house building on the island increases pressure on the already busy North-South roads.

Current Council policy is to restrict parking at work to encourage alternate means of travel, including cycling. As a result, there is a lot of parking in side streets around offices such as Langstone Technology Park and Penner Road.

A North-South cycle route would encourage more people to cycle to work resulting in less side street parking.


Cycle Hayling have been investigating alternative off road routes to bypass this section of the main road as described below. The three possible schemes which could provide an off-road cycle link between Yew Tree Road and Kings Road, avoiding the A3023 main road are:

  • Convert an existing footpath to dual use. This footpath runs to the west of the A3023 from just south of the Maypole Pub down to the A3023 near the junction withChurch Road. There would be a need to then link up this cycle route to the junction of Daw Lane/Yew Tree Road. This could be along a dual use pavement or by creating a cycleway around the back of the Maypole Pub and up to Daw Lane. A crossing would be required at the south end of this route for cyclists to cross the A3023 and link up with Kings Road (perhaps a Toucan crossing?)
  • Widen and convert to dual use the pavements which run up the east side of the A3023 betweenYew Tree Road and Kings Road.
  • A private Registered Riders path has been created for horse riders which goes from the field entrance just north of the Mill Rythe Campus and ends at the Fleet Farm Camping and Caravan site off Yew Tree Road. There is a possibility that the Registered Riders and landowners could be persuaded to have a durable surface installed to allow dual use.

The conversion of footpaths to dual use is generally a much lower cost than road schemes. The reported cost, at £855K, of the recent (Autumn 2012) resurfacing the main road (A2023), when compared to around £100K for an equivalent length of cycle track illustrates the relative costs.

Most cycling infrastructure is funded from developer contributions.

It’s commonly said that cyclists don’t use the existing cycle lanes, so why should we build them?

In fact, cyclists do use the cycle lanes but those that don’t are highly visible because of the effect they have on traffic.

It’s unrealistic to expect all cyclists to use the cycle lanes – especially when there is no legal requirement – but a well-designed and constructed route will be popular with most types of cyclist. We accept that groups like ours should encourage all cyclists to use the available facilities.

Both Havant and Hampshire councils have objectives to reduce road traffic by encouraging sustainable forms of travel – including cycling. Public health concerns (obesity) and carbon reduction targets are all part of the pressure on governments and local authorities to get the general public to adopt ‘Active Travel’ options.

Compared to other road developments, cycle lanes are relatively inexpensive. Groups like Cycle Hayling can make a real difference when it comes to negotiating with landowners – removing a significant obstacle from the process.

Inevitably, councils face many demands on available time and money. Sustained encouragement from groups like Cycle Hayling is needed to ensure cycling infrastructure developments get done but there are plenty of examples of recent successes:

  • Extensions of the cycle route North of the Hayling bridge
  • The Broadmarsh cycle route linking Langstone and Eastern Road
  • New school-oriented routes in Emsworth
  • Park Lane Cycle track between Waterlooville and Leigh Park.

If you want to support our efforts, please subscribe to the supporters’ newsletter.

Progress to date

Where we are – February 2019

Posted on: February 8, 2019 by: Andy Henderson

We have to admit we haven’t done a great job at keeping the web site updated with progress.

There are, of course, some reasons for that:

  • We are often given information ‘in confidence’ but we are rarely told when the information is no longer confidential. That leaves us in limbo.
  • We have presented updates through Hayling Islander articles and social rides, but the web site has taken a back seat.
  • With limited time and effort available, we tend to spend what time we have available pursuing progress – it’s not until we look back that we realise how long it’s been since we updated the site.

This article is an attempt to put that right. Going forward we plan to send more regular updates to our supporters (click here to find out how you can support us for free).

So, in no particular order, here’s an update on what has been happening. Click any heading to see more information…

???I’m a little confused. Looking at Google Maps I can’t see a path from Saltmarsh Lane. I know there is one from Denhill Close and we used to describe it as the Denhill Close development. What’s changed?

Last year we were successful in a bid for £16,000 of CIL money to build a cycle link to the Billy Trail from Saltmash Lane – currently a muddy and very uneven path.

We discussed the situation with the landowner??? who would like to see the path improved and meeting the needs of a wider group of people.

The initial plan – agreed with Havant Borough Council – was that we would bid for the money to improve the path and that HBC would do the improvement work. The budget was agreed with HBC and that is what we applied for.

Having obtained the money we found that:

  • The budget was no longer sufficient
  • The surface intended by HBC was similar to previously failed attempts to improve the Billy Trail

We are looking into the best way to create a suitable surface for the path – in particular a good and lasting all weather surface. We continue to consult with Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council. We have also made good progress to secure further funding. We are also exploring whether we need planning permission.

The aim of the Smooth the Path campaign is to make all cycle routes suitable for all, in all weather.

Some parts of Hampshire County Council insist that new path surfaces in our area should use ‘self-binding’ gravel. This is inappropriate for cycle paths (and for any wheeled users including prams, pushchairs and wheel chairs) as it quickly breaks up under use and deteriorates into loose stones: an unpleasant surface for all users and a skid risk for cyclists. We have seen this happen with resurfacing attempts on the Billy Trail, footpath 88 (AKA the cinder track) and the original surface for the seafront accessibility path. It is also contrary to Hampshire County Council’s own recommendations for cycle paths!

Another possibility is the sacrificial surface used at the north end of the Billy Trail. It’s a reasonable surface but it will need to be replaced at regular intervals to maintain it. The section on the Billy Trail is weathering fairly well, but a similar section across Hilsea Lines demonstrates much faster deterioration – it is therefore suitable only in specific situations.

Our research is that a proper sealed surface (as used already by many cycling and walking paths in Hampshire – including the Langstone section of the Billy Trail) is only about 15% more expensive than ‘self-binding’ gravel and should last far longer.

We applied for CIL money to fund a feasibility study to look at all possible options for a North-South cycle route and make recommendations. However Havant Borough Council asked if we would consider withdrawing it, as it was unlikely to be successful, and because they would incorporate the principle into the new LCWIP. So we have withdrawn our bid to focus on the LCWIP, but we are still committed to Haylink.

Wilf Forrow has done an excellent job of relationship building with councillors and officers of our local authorities.

We are finding a more positive attitude to cycling. To some extent that was always there, but we benefit from changes in personnel, and recent legislation in the areas of health, cycling and walking.

We face two major obstacles, however:

  • A shortage – or absence – of funds to support cycling initiatives
  • Disjoins between different parts of the local authorities which generate conflicting and, sometimes, mutually exclusive objectives

We continue to attend fairs and fêtes in the area. Our stall is jointly funded by Cycle Hayling and Portsmouth CTC. We use it to gain new supporters and to encourage people to get on our turbo trainers for fun.

We’ve organised a couple of social rides around the Island to discuss problems and opportunities with supporters that were able to join us.

We’ve found the rides to be more effective, better supported and more fun than formal meetings. We expect to continue them when the weather improves.

We were asked by Mengham Junior School??? if we could arrange clearing the shared foot and cycle path behind the school. Since we successfully campaigned to get the path upgraded, the undergrowth each side had been encroaching onto the path to the extent that it was getting difficult to use it.

We approached the owner??? with a view to arranging a working party to clear the path. The next thing we knew he’d done the clearing himself.

Work to repair the section of the Billy Trail that fell into the sea resulted in a lot of damage to the trail itself. The contractor made an attempt to repair the damage by laying scalpings.

Unfortunately – as we know all too well – scalpings can provide a reasonable surface but they quickly deteriorate into a collection of loose stones. Unpleasant for all users and a skid risk for bikes.

We have made representations several times to Havant Borough Council and Hampshire County Council. We were told the issue had been recognised and that action was being considered against the contractor. Unfortunately nothing has happened since.

This is a clear example of why inappropriate surfaces are a waste of money and can make paths worse for all users, We are therefore seeking a properly constructed sealed surface for all cycle paths with our ‘smooth the path‘ campaign.

Strictly speaking, this is not ‘on our patch’ but it would provide part of a cycle route for Hayling residents all the way to Havant, Portsmouth and Emsworth. We were therefore consulted about the plan and asked to get feedback from our supporters. Which we provided.

Unfortunately, although the original plan was fully funded, Havant Borough Council reacted to delays on the A3023 by insisting that non-essential work be carried-out at night. This doubled the cost, so the work has had to be done piecemeal.

So far the path is complete from the entrance to Langstone Technology Park to the tree that stands in the middle of the pavement, south of Langbrook Close. Some railings have also been erected south of the tree to make crossing an exit safer.

The original plan was to take the path out around the tree reducing the hatched central reservation to maintain the road width. We understand, however, that the tree is dying and will become dangerous at which point it will be removed.

Until then, however, the path is not officially a shared one but, of course, many cyclists continue to use it in preference to the main road.

We would like to erect signage at each end of the Billy Trail to encourage all users to be considerate of each other. We raised a formal proposal to Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council (the owners of the north and south ends of the trail respectively, we:

  • Suggested where the signs could be placed
  • Presented possible wording (the same as used on other shared paths in Hampshire and West Sussex)
  • Offered to pay for the signage and to erect it ourselves

That was nearly two years ago. Our proposal was put on hold because Hampshire was about to undergo a rebranding exercise that would have seen existing Billy Trail signs replaced. That hasn’t happened.

Havant Borough Council has improved the section of the path as it joins the pavement immediately before reaching the entrance to Beachlands. It’s not great to feed the path onto a road in order to get access to the western section of the path, but it is better than feeding onto a non-shared footway and the main road.

Havant Borough Council plans to use CIL money to:

  • Upgrade the existing footpath between St Mary’s church and Manor Road via the Parkdean holiday park to a shared cycle path
  • Create a formal, signed cycle route through Hayling Park (although our understanding is that cycling is currently allowed in all Havant parks)

These two projects are unrelated, but put together to minimise contracting costs. We are, however, concerned that delays to one will delay the other. A legal issue has already pushed the delivery date from 2019 back to end-2020.

Hampshire County Council??? has erected cycle route signs along most of our ‘green route‘ that links Copse Lane, St Peter’s Road and Northney Road.

There was some opposition from Northney residents but the signage used is the small blue sign (intended as a guide for cyclists) rather than the large ‘warning cyclists’ triangle (the signs fulfill – to some extent – both functions) so the visual impact is minimised.

Natural England is working with local authorities to plan and construct (where necessary) a coast path around the entire country.

The path will be a footpath and – unless already a shared path – won’t be available for cyclists. We are monitoring progress because:

  • The section planned for east Hayling will – unsurprisingly – make use of the Billy Trail and might support our campaign to restore it.
  • It might create opportunities for establishing new, shared cycle paths.

The section planned for west Hayling seems to have stalled for the time being – possibly because of legal action which claims that the west of Hayling is not on the coast but an inland waterway!

Continue reading →

Havant’s new Cycling and Walking Plan!

Posted on: January 23, 2019 by: Wilf

Havant Borough Council has announced that it will be starting work on a formal Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan shortly.

This is REALLY important because :

  • A formal plan unlocks much more future government funding
  • Implementing it becomes a formal policy of the whole council, not just the cycling team
  • It forces developers to show how their housing plans fit into OUR bigger plan
  • It forces all of us to plan for the best long term solution, rather than just for quick wins
Continue reading →

Cycle Hayling update July 2018

Posted on: July 26, 2018 by: AdminWilf

Thank you for supporting Cycle Hayling in our efforts to make Hayling more cycle-friendly. When you read on, you’ll realise we will need your support more than ever.

Continue reading →

New signage for the Mill Rythe path

Posted on: May 22, 2016 by: Andy Henderson

We’ve now installed permanent signage at the north and south ends of the new section of shared cycle path going north from the Mill Rythe roundabout.

Our thanks are due to Wilf Forrow who contributed his time, effort and money to install the new signs (I stood around and offered the all-important encouraging words).

You’ll also see that, compared to how the path was last year, it is much improved through the efforts of our supporters, the Registered Riders Scheme and Andrea and Simon Walter (the land owners). The track along the middle of the path is encouraging evidence that the path is being used.

North end of the path

South end of the path

Continue reading →

Proposal to reduce the speed limit on the Northney route

Posted on: February 21, 2016 by: Sue Underwood

Consultation is now open on the council proposal to reduce the speed limit from 40 mph to 30 mph on the section of road between the Stoke end of Copse Lane and Northney village. Details of the proposal, ref. number AS/TRO/298, can be found at www.havant.gov.uk/tro

This is a route used by many cyclists to get on and off the island, so Cycle Hayling supporters may like to submit their views to the consultation, which is open until Friday 11th March 2016. Formal comments can be made via one of the following methods:

  • Using the online response form at the above web address
  • By email to tro@havant.gov.uk
  • In writing to the acting solicitor to the council :
    Sara Bryan
    Acting Solicitor to the Council
    Public Service Plaza
    Civic Centre Road
    Havant PO9 2AX
Continue reading →

New section of path is cycle-able

Posted on: July 10, 2015 by: Andy Henderson

After a fantastic effort from supporters yesterday, the new section of path on the east side of the main road going north from the Mill Rythe roundabout can now be cycled. I know because this is me riding it!

Continue reading →

Cycle survey results

Posted on: July 3, 2015 by: Sue Underwood

Summary of cycle surveys carried out in Spring 2015

Sunday 17th May Monday 1st June
Total number of cyclists northbound on bridge 304 81
Total number of cyclists southbound on bridge 367 97
Total number of cyclists E to W
(not crossing bridge)
41 9
Continue reading →

New section of cycle path on Hayling

Posted on: June 19, 2015 by: Andy Henderson

We are pleased to announce a new section of cycle path alongside the main road out of Hayling.

It goes from the Mill Rythe roundabout to a little over half-way to the boat yard…

Continue reading →

Bridge traffic & cycling stats

Posted on: March 19, 2015 by: Wilf

Did you know how much traffic uses the bridge, and what proportion are cyclists? Hampshire County Council ran traffic surveys in 2005 and again in 2011 to find out. The raw results are pretty complicated, but Cycle Hayling has done some hard work so you don’t have to.

Continue reading →

30 mph speed limit proposed

Posted on: February 19, 2014 by: Wilf

Hampshire County Council is proposing a speed limit reduction from 40 to 30mph on the main A3023, between New Cut and Mill Rythe roundabout.

Continue reading →