Shipwright's Way - Havant to Hayling Island

A short history of The Shipwright's Way

The Shipwright's Way is a long-distance route linking villages and towns in east Hampshire through some beautiful countryside. Starting at Alice Holt Forest near Farnham across the South Downs to Portsmouth. The route is open to walkers and cyclists and, where possible, horse-riders and people with disabilities.

Relevant information for this leg of the Way

On the waterfront at Langstone there are public toilets and two good pubs. The Ship and Royal Oak both serve food.

West Town has shops and toilets (on the northern side of the playing fields).

At the ferry, food is served at The Ferry Boat Inn. You can also find more public toilets here too.


    • Route
    • Temporarily closed
    • Restricted use


This section is 5½ miles long; you can return along the same route, or use other footpaths (walkers only) or lanes. If you were to do the sections before and after this (Havant-Portsmouth), you can return by train.

The section starts at Langstone. Langstone is a picturesque waterfront community with an old mill and a row of eighteenth century thatched cottages. To the west of the road bridge you can see the remains of the rail bridge. To the east of the bridge there is a historic causeway called the ‘wadeway’. This causeway is now deep under water since the canal was cut through in the 1820s.

After crossing the bridge, continue along the Hayling Billy - this is a disused rail line. The route is now a wide, well-surfaced track with views across Langstone harbour. You can read the information boards describing the fascinating railway history and wildlife.

The site is internationally important for its wildfowl and wading birds. Look out for black-tailed godwits and large flocks of Brent geese in winter. You can see oystercatchers on the Victorian oyster beds at the northern end of the island. Oysters have been fished here since at least Roman times.

The hedgerows along this route are also managed for wildlife, and butterflies abound in summer.

On leaving the Billy, the last 1½ miles is on or next to the road.

You will pass some colourful houseboats before arriving at the ferry to Portsmouth. Look out for the WWII Mulberry Harbour sitting in the water north of the jetty, built on Hayling to assist the D-day landings. Use the Hayling Ferry website or call 0750 0194854 for information if the ferry is not running. Alternative bus routes are available. Use the Stagecoach 30/31 bus service running from Staunton Avenue to Havant, then change to Stagecoach 700 service to Portsmouth. Call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 for more information.

This section is open to walkers (and dogs), cyclists and horse-riders and provides a good flat, year-round route for pushchairs and mobility vehicles.

The route begins on flat well-surfaced gravel tracks with no stiles or gates. It continues on roads with pavements or verges in part. To avoid Ferry Road, walkers can choose instead to walk across the heath and along the shingle beach.

Partnership working between East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, the Forestry Commission and the South Downs National Park Authority provided the route. We were pleased to work closely with Havant Borough Council in this area.