Cycle Hayling wants to improve cycling on Hayling Island, for example:

Our beautiful Island should be a great place to cycle:

  • Good weather
  • No hills
  • No through traffic
  • The South Downs national park on our doorstep

But it could be much, much better. Provision for cyclists is limited or flawed, but there is plenty scope for improvement to encourage people to cycle more.

See below for more details on our current projects and our other activities.

Cycle Hayling is a volunteer community group campaigning to make Hayling Island more cycle-friendly.

Please support our efforts and register your support – it’s free and we will keep you up-to-date with progress.

Home Page: Safe Cycle Routes

Safe cycle routes to schools

All of the 5 Hayling Island schools lie on the main road (Havant Road, Church Road & Elm Grove) which serves the Mengham shopping area, and the entire large residential area at the south of the island. This road is very busy during the rush hour with queueing at peak times.

The proportion of pupils and staff who cycle to school is very low. Figures provided by the Hampshire County Council Travel Team show that 79% of pupils are driven to the two Mill Rythe schools. The national average is 34%. Most schools’ walking rates hover around 50%. Currently at the Infant school, only 4.5% of pupils walk and barely 18% walk to the Junior school. A questionnaire conducted at Hayling College showed that 10% cycled against 50% using a car. Those that do cycle are often seen using the pavements around Hayling College.

Since the Travel Team survey, the Cinder Track has been upgraded by Hampshire County Council. Mill Rythe Junior School has conducted a new survey of travel behaviour which found that car use has fallen to 68%, 16% walk, 12% cycle or use a scooter, and 4% use the bus. That suggests a significant improvement.

More safe cycling routes to the schools would allow more students to cycle to school and college, and help keep them off the pavements. They would also encourage school and college staff to cycle to work.

Find out more

If you want to support our efforts, please register your support; registration is free and we will keep you up-to-date with progress.

Home Page: North-South route

Haylink: North-South traffic-free cycle link

For everyday cycling, the south of Hayling is completely cut off from the north of Hayling Island and the bridge.

People in the south need to cycle north to the Yew Tree or Maypole, or further to Northney or Havant. How can we expect our kids to cycle to Havant College?

People in the north or off the island need to cycle south to schools, shops, the community centre, the beach, and all the other wonderful amenities on the island.

The main A3023 Havant Road between Yew Tree Road and Kings Road is too narrow, too busy, and intimidating for all but the most hardened cyclists. So very few bike riders attempt it and even fewer cycle-commute off the Island.

Any cyclists daring it causes traffic tailbacks and frustration for motorists. If they use pavements illegally, they risk colliding with pedestrians and hedges growing out over narrow pavements.

That’s why Cycle Hayling is calling for 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.

It won’t be easy. There’s no simple option, so we applied for council funding in 2018 for a professional feasibility study. Although this didn’t make the cut, the council have incorporated the need into the new Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, being developed during 2019. Watch this space!

Find out more

If you want to support our efforts, please register your support; registration is free and we will keep you up-to-date with progress.

Home Page: Hayling Billy trail restoration

Hayling Billy trail restoration

The Hayling Billy trail is the only traffic-free cycle route off the island. It was transformed from the old Puffing Billy railway line in the 1980’s, following a campaign by a group of cyclists inspired by Sustrans. But the surface has deteriorated badly, and sections of the trail have collapsed into the sea, which are very difficult to repair with such strong nature protections.

But it’s finally going to get the smooth, all-weather surface that Cycle Hayling has been campaigning for since we started in 2010!

Hampshire County Council has won a £600,000 grant from Active Travel England for a smooth, all-weather surface from the bridge to at least the Esso garage car park. This is ring-fenced active travel money – it was never available for road improvements or sea defences.

And Hampshire and Havant Councils are jointly investing another £100,000 in a Feasibility Design for the whole Billy Trail, including looking at links towards the centre of the island. And where the current billy trail is at risk of being washed away by the sea, alternative inland routes will be investigated along with measures to protect it from future erosion without impacting nature.

Cycle Hayling says this is wonderful news, not just for cyclists, but for walkers, the disabled, horse-riders and nature lovers. And for motorists, by getting cyclists off our narrow, overloaded main road.

Here’s what we know so far:
  • It will try to cater for everyone – cyclists, walkers, parents with child buggies, wheelchairs for the disabled, nature lovers and horse riders. Where there’s room, it will have an adjacent ‘country path’, for walkers and horses.
  • It will have a natural-looking, all-weather surface, like the Langstone end of the Billy Trail. That’s asphalt underneath, surface dressed with embedded gravel to make it less vulnerable to skidding, surface water and ice, but blending in with nature. We hope there’ll be a slight camber to help rain wash off mud and leaves.
  • It will use recycled materials in the base layer, saved from past road repairs.
  • Future maintenance will be done by Hampshire Highways. This is a huge step forwards, which we’ve long campaigned for, because it previously fell to Hampshire Countryside Services, who don’t have the money or the expertise. In the past, Hampshire Highways would only take on cycle path if paid in advance for the next 30 or 40 years maintenance!
  • Victoria Rd West will also be improved, next to the Esso garage, which has caused quite a few cycling accidents over recent years. This is the only safe cycle route out of the North Hayling estate.

Hampshire County Council is the transport authority, and own most of the Billy Trail, but they’ve delegated more than ever before to Havant Council. That’s great for Hayling, because Havant have much better local knowledge, great cycle path expertise, and better communications.

A key issue will be gaining support from all users of the Billy Trail, not just cyclists. Many people are concerned that cyclists will go too fast and cause accidents, or that it will become too much like a road, or even that it motor vehicles will be allowed (they won’t).

So it’s really important for all cyclists to demonstrate that we can share paths respectfully with walkers. I know cyclists in a hurry hate slowing down, but walkers loathe bikes whooshing past without warning too. So use your bell!

Ideally it would have separate paths for cycling and walking all the way along, but some of the edges are protected for nature by law – which we all support – and making it wider would make it look too much like a road. But traffic volumes are low, so we think 3 metres is wide enough, especially where’s there’s room for the ‘country path’ alongside.

Many of the new cyclists we hope it will attract will be lone commuters, riding in single file, so they won’t need as much space as a leisure group who spread across the path. We’d like some sort of gentle segregation by signs or surface markings to ’nudge’ walkers and cyclists to their own side. We’d suggest walkers on the sea side, cyclists on the inland side.

And it’s over double it’s old railway width of 4 foot 8 and a half inches! It’s always been a transport link – it’s first century as The Puffing Billy railway line, from 1867 until the Beeching cuts in 1963. It then languished for 20 years, almost unusable, until 1984, when a group of Havant cyclists persuaded John Grimshaw (later to found Sustrans) to come up with a design to transform it, which they used to lobby Havant and Hampshire Councils. And it later became a core part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network as NCN2.

But it’s gone mostly downhill since then, with very little maintenance, rough surfaces, mud, floods and persistent erosion from the sea.

We’ve tried to shortern the northern end dogleg by the railway signal – cyclists don’t like detours, and that always seems a psychological ‘backward step’. So we were hoping we could go straight across inside the lagoon, but apparently there are too many natural protections.

Many people have asked why are we tarting up the bit that’s already pretty good – why aren’t we starting with the WORST bits? Blame our lovely Tory government – if the project’s not complete by March 2024, they grab back all the money. And the only section that could be finished by then is the northern section – just in time for the May elections. I think that’s cynical electioneering, and not the right thing for residents of Hayling.

WORSE …… the government has slashed future Active Travel funding by two-thirds. The £600,000 came from Active Travel England’s round 4 Active Travel Funding, and only covers the first 1.2 kms – we’ll need much more.

Please write to Alan Mak today, asking him to reverse the Active Travel cuts and get us the funding to protect the Billy Trail for the next 30 or 40 years.

If you want to support our efforts, please register your support; registration is free and we will keep you up-to-date with progress.

Home Page: Other activities

Other activities

As well as our main campaign projects, we:

We also spend time with councillors and officers of both Hampshire County Council and Havant Borough Council and liaise with land-owners and funding agencies.

If you would like to help us, please register your support. It doesn’t cost you anything. In return we will send you occasional emails to let you know what’s happening – including any events we organise.

If you would like to get more involved, please contact Joy Forrow.