Here’s our article in the August 2021 edition of the Hayling Herald, for those that didn’t get to see it.
Hayling Billy Trail
Hayling’s traffic, flooding and environmental problems came up repeatedly during July. First, in the government hearings on whether to accept Havant Borough Council’s Local Plan, which could well lead to a 25% increase in houses (and traffic). You will see from the HIRA report in the Herald, and here on the HIRA website, that several of us local residents demanded better all-round protection for Hayling.
And second, in a progress update on the Hayling Island Coastal Management Strategy. As you probably know, parts of the Billy Trail are at risk of being washed into the sea, and the official line has always been that it won’t be defended. That is despite it being the only traffic-free cycle route off the island, a key sea defence, and rumours that it carries a gas main, broadband and other services.
So we’re challenging the Coastal team to protect the Trail permanently with new salt marsh, oyster beds and living breakwaters to make a new bird and marine nature reserve. We know it’s technically possible – we just need the ambition.
And we’re challenging Havant’s landscaping team to tackle Hayling’s traffic and health crisis by designing a strip of smooth, all-weather cycle path along it that blends into the wonderful Billy Trail environment.
Talking of our wonderful Hayling Billy Cycle Trail, it didn’t just ‘happen’, it was the result of a long, hard campaign by a group of passionate local cyclists, who went on to form the Havant based Portsmouth CTC, now one of the most successful cycle touring clubs in the country.
And we’re sad to hear of the death of one of them, Havant’s legendary world record holder Chris (CCP) Davies, pictured here on the Billy Trail in his Portsmouth CTC shirt, who dedicated his life to cycling.
Chris’ world record was for the furthest ever officially cycled – a quite staggering 916,791 miles, and he would have made a million miles but for illness. Even now, he is still world number two.
To qualify, you have to record every mile properly, and he recorded his meticulously in old school exercise books.
And the very first line, in the very first book, that started his life-long journey, is from Havant to his grandmother’s beach hut on Hayling, when the Billy Trail was still a railway line.
And another was the inaugural ride on the group’s newly-created Hayling Billy Trail. Thank you Chris, we salute you.
Read more about his amazing story at the Portsmouth News tribute. And many more local stories are coming out of the woodwork through our local Portsmouth CTC website tributes (only visible to Portsmouth CTC members, or ask).
New Hayling cycle paths
We hope that work will now be starting on Hayling’s three new cycle paths, the East-West path from St Mary’s Church to Manor Rd, from Mengham Lane to Selsmore, and around Hayling Park. We’ll organise a Cycle Hayling celebratory ride around them when they’re done! And we’re determined they won’t be the last.
Access to tips
If Hampshire County Council wants to promote sustainability and decarbonise transport, why would it only allow cars at the tip, when half of islanders don’t even have a car! Well the good news is that they’ve backed down. Cyclists still need to book online, but you can now enter BIKE as your registration number.
And they’re trialling a walk-in hour for pedestrians at Waterlooville and two other tips. We don’t understand why sustainable transport doesn’t get priority over cars, or why bikes still need to book, and aren’t allowed during the walk-in hour, given how little most bikes can carry, and might need more than one trip. Tips can’t be more dangerous than some of our roads. But it’s progress.
Finally, a reminder from Hampshire Police to leave cyclists 1.5 metres space when you pass them. Cyclists often have to pull out to avoid dangerous drains, manhole covers and potholes. Just think, if they weren’t on their bike, they’d probably be in a car, blocking your way at your next hold-up.
And a huge THANK YOU to all the lovely motorists who slow down or stop to let cyclists and pedestrians cross our busy roads. It makes such a huge difference. If someone does that for you, please thank them with a wave and a huge Hayling Island smile! 😍
More at cyclehayling.org