Category Listing: General interest

Father's Day family outing and charity ride on Hayling

We're keen to encourage young cyclists.  Well Havant Rotary are organising a Father's Day family outing and charity ride, on Sunday, June 19th, 2016.  It starts from Northney Farm Field (opposite the Tea Rooms), then south down the Billy Trail to the beach, and back again for a barbecue and bouncy castle.  If you know any children or grandchildren, it's a great way to get them riding - or adults, come to that.  And prostate cancer is a very appropriate charity for Father's Day.

Riders set off after registering and collecting their free T-Shirt at Northney Farm Field from 10 am.   At the end of the ride there is a BBQ and activities back at the field.  Alternatively, you can picnic if you wish to bring your own food.

Find out the answers to our quiz!   No racing is involved so you have time to enjoy the ride and at the same time be sponsored to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and Havant Rotary‘s local Charities, or you can choose to donate your sponsorship money to your own charity.

This is a fun day for families who want to have an enjoyable day out with their children and bikes.  The 12 mile ride should take about 2 hours at a family-friendly pace (but you can turn round at any point along the way if it's too difficult!).  Why not get your wider family and friends to join in and make a real day of it?

Entry is only £12.50 for one adult and a child (under 18) and includes a free T-shirt. Additional children are £2.50  each to cover the cost of the T-shirt.  When you complete the entry form don’t forget to let us know the sizes of T-shirt you need!

Fuller details are on the Rotary website at or on their Facebook page at

Slindon 2016

We had a great time even though we had problems with heating and hot water! The weather helped a lot - as did the food. As usual, Wally prepared a four course roast dinner to kick us off on Friday evening - and it kept coming: cooked breakfasts; curry on Saturday evening (with all the trimmings) and a finish-up-what's-left lunch on Sunday.

We are already taking bookings for next year - click here for more details.

Here are some photos. Click any image to see a larger version...

Where we were working...

Courthill farmhouse is a vacant property on the Slindon Estate. It has a lot of potential to generate income for the estate and the National Trust is considering how best to use it. In the mean time, the gardens need a lot of work to prevent them from becoming a wilderness.

Before and after...

Tom - our supervisor for the week-end - assigned us a set of tasks that we divided up between us. Here's some before and after images:

And some more after...

Unless someone has some before photos, you'll have to imagine how the site looked before we got going.

Clean up...

In case you were wondering what happened to the debris, we kept what logs the NT could sell off and burned the rest - all of it!

And then...

... to bed:

Emsworth cycle projects

The following has recently been sent by the Transport & Implementation Team based at Havant Borough Council as their November’s update regarding the various cycle infrastructure projects in Emsworth. Click either entry to find out more about:

Havant Road A259: we have now resurfaced the former red cycle lanes, this was completed yesterday (18 Nov). We have already received positive feedback about the ride quality of the new lanes, although we have had to follow the old kerb lines which in places have sunk from their original level! Although some of the line painting was able to be done earlier today (for safety reasons we started with repainting the ‘give way’ markings across the side road junctions), we need dry weather to complete this; currently the intention is for the line painting to re-start on Saturday (weather permitting) which will involve painting the cycle lanes themselves. These will now be generally 1.5m wide, up from the original 1.1 – 1.2m; this will serve to visually narrow the road and assist in helping users to observe the 30mph speed limit. The red anti-skid (which will now only be placed in short lengths across junctions and crossings) might have to follow early next year as this requires consistently drier weather. We are now concluding work in the Barn Close area, building the new larger central island which we had to leave until now to assist with the traffic management during the resurfacing operation which took up to half the road width. We expect to broadly finish this by the end of next week. We will then fall back along the whole length of the job, clearing and tidying as we go. Additional road signs will be installed in the new year, linking through to the new route recently opened at Warblington School and so on into Havant.

Emsworth Station: the double deck 24-space cycle parking shelter installation onto the concrete slab we cast in October is expected to be completed by the end of the month. We then need to erect fencing around the shelter and it is expected to be open to the public in early December. When complete there will be a total of 48 stand spaces available at the station, compared with 18 previously. The environmental mitigation works (including a new information / interpretation board) agreed with the Emsworth Waysides Group for the northern site will be installed once the new shelter has been completed. The path to access the station subway on the north side will be widened to 2.5m and converted to ‘shared’ status once the shelter is in place.

Selangor Avenue / Victoria Road / Emsworth Primary School: apart from route confirmation signs along these roads, this scheme is complete.

The following projects are in various stages of design, with implementation planned during 2016.

Emsworth – Rowlands Castle cycle link: this is a new scheme to create a waymarked off road cycle friendly route between Hollybank Lane and Rowlands Castle through Hollybank Woods and Southleigh Forest. The route, which is intended to link National Cycle Network (NCN) route 2 in Emsworth with NCN22 at Rowlands Castle, involves targeted upgrades of existing paths and bridleways, signposting and route marking.

Horndean Road toucan crossing and Recreation Ground links: this is an upgrade to the existing crossing point at St James School. Design continues on this new facility; HCC has now provided the draft toucan layout so we are now able to work up the scheme in detail to link it to the wider network. This will include the signposting of a ‘quiet route’ link between Bellevue Lane and New Brighton Road via Christopher Way and Fairfield Close, providing a connection from the east to the new crossing point, as well as work within the Recreation Ground to widen the east and south side paths to create up to 3m wide shared routes. The scheme is planned to be built in the school summer holiday period in 2016.

Interbridges Link: we have reached agreement in principle with the relevant parties to implement proposals for a new east-west link between Washington Road and New Brighton Road, using land between the railway and the A27. This link will connect both into the new Station cycle parking area and the Interbridges junction, and by converting the verge on the east side of New Brighton Road (north of the Horndean Road junction) to shared status we will have achieved a quiet / off road route between Westbourne and Emsworth. Following a review of contractual arrangements and efficiency of delivery, it has been decided that this work is best done at the same time, and within the same contract, as the other work in the Recreation Ground and with the toucan crossing (i.e. summer holiday period 2016).

Havant’s Engineering Works Team are carrying out further work in North Street (currently outside Tesco), widening and improving the crossing points at the two junctions with Palmers Road. The remainder of the proposed works have been paused in case anything that comes out of the North Street Urban Design Consultation being run by Emsworth Forum conflicts with what we had planned to do.

Other Emsworth projects, including comprehensive and consistent waymarking of all the new routes through the network, will progress throughout the next year.

Please be aware that any future work may be adjusted in terms of scope and time scales.

The story of the Hayling Billy Trail 1984-2014

One evening in 1984 a group of local cyclists met in a house on Hayling Island to discuss what could be done to make cycling safer in the Havant area. We felt we needed one particular objective to focus on and, possibly because several of the people at the meeting were Hayling residents, we decided that objective would be to provide a safer north-south route on the island by using the disused railway line.

The bends on the Havant Road in 1984
1984 The bends on Havant Road
(click on any photo for a larger image)

We called ourselves the Havant and District Safe Cycling Campaign (a bit of a mouthful and it came to be referred to as the Havant Cycling Campaign) and formed a small committee. We lobbied Havant and Hampshire councillors and council officers; we gave articles to the Portsmouth News; and we held a public meeting at the Ship which was attended by a number of Havant councillors. Most important, we contacted John Grimshaw of the Railway Path Project in Bristol. John Grimshaw, a civil engineer, founded Sustrans and was their Chief Executive Officer until 2008.

Muddy trail in 1984
1984 North near West Lane

We organised a second public meeting (I think it was November 1984) at the Ship and on the morning of the meeting John came by train from Bristol with his Moulton. After a brief discussion he rode down the length of the railway line. Over tea we discussed John’s ideas in more detail and he put together a presentation using some slides which had been taken a few weeks before. He gave this presentation at the evening’s meeting. An impressive presentation, especially as it was all prepared in half a day.

Looking north near West Lane in 2014
2014 North near West Lane

More lobbying; more feeds to the News; presentations to various groups, including the Bosmere Hundred Society; around May 1985 a display in Havant precinct which included a boneshaker and a penny farthing to attract people’s attention We organised a circular ride from West Town to Havant (to near the museum) and back, one way along the track that was the old railway line, and the return along the main road. One of Hayling’s lady councillors got involved, surveying and comparing the routes from the back seat of a tandem that was piloted by one of our members. She became a useful supporter.

In April 1985 John Grimshaw produced a detailed proposal for the cycle path which we distributed to the relevant influential people. [click here to read the proposal]

The railway path proposal
The railway path proposal

A minor distraction occurred when another local group also became interested in the disused railway line with a view to restoring the railway and rebuilding the bridge. There was a lot of letter-writing to the local press from both sides, with arguments against the cycle route including how little cyclists spend compared with other tourists – “They ride to the beach and take sandwiches in their saddle bags”. The railway enthusiasts arranged a public meeting at the Hayling Billy pub, but a lot of support dropped away when it was pointed out that the island’s gas main had been laid under what had previously been the railway line. The councils didn’t take their suggestions too seriously and continued their support of the cycle path proposal.

Two of us were invited to meet the HBC chief executive who congratulated us on the quality of the proposal.

My notes at the time include:

  • 19th July 1985   Call from ……. in County Planning – “We want to get started”
  • 14th November 1985   Havant Planning and Development committee – “Report and recommendations agreed”
View towards Hayling station in 1984
1984 Towards Hayling station

Of course there were a lot of planning and legal matters to sort out, but eventually work started on the Hayling Billy trail. Not that it was perfect, far from it. I believe the Portsmouth harbour authorities refused to allow a tarmac path on the grounds of detraction from the natural environment, so the limestone dust surface was not the best for good quality machines and suffered in bad weather; a fence (wooden posts with two strands of wire) divided the cycle path from the path for horses, this was often cut (fishermen wanted to get to the bank or perhaps horse riders wanted to use the cycle path) or the posts were uprooted. One of our number was given a post-driver and some wire by the council so that he could do some repairs. He used to leave for work early with a few lengths of wire in his saddlebag to do running repairs.

2014 Towards Hayling station
2014 Towards Hayling station

The trail has been extended, improvements have been made and the path is now well used.

But what of the Havant Cycling Campaign? We were all cyclists so we started to publish a list of monthly Saturday rides and evening rides. These became very popular – mainly due to the statement on our rides list: 50 miles, leisurely pace, nobody left behind – and more frequent and those not working started to ride on Wednesdays as well. We started to have monthly meetings at the United Reformed church in Havant with slide shows, presentations and speakers on a wide variety of topics (not just cycling) which attracted non-cyclists and helped our name to get about. The group branched into foreign travel and somebody stuck an inspired pin into a list of Normandy hotels and hit upon perhaps the only hotel in Normandy where the owner used to race with Jacques Anquetil. For several years 30 or so of us spent the May bank holiday weekend in Montebourg.

1992 CTC magazineAs most of us were CTC members it was natural that we felt our activities – riding, social and campaigning – should be part of the local CTC, so our rides were merged into the Portsmouth CTC programme and the Wednesday and Saturday rides starting from Havant offered a popular addition to the traditional Sunday rides from Cosham

And what of the Hayling Billy Trail? Well used, well known, well signposted but, as at December 2014, with a far from ideal surface. When I took photos to compare them with the 1984 photos I had to find stretches which were not covered in large puddles and I had to wash my bike when I got home.

(Thanks to Dave Searle for his help in recalling things that I had forgotten.)

Bridges and ice

At this week's committee meeting, Roger described the problem he had with ice on the bridge between Eastern Road and Third Avenue. There was no ice on the roads at the time.

Turns out that is a well-established phenomenon and it's quite common to see signs saying "Bridge freezes before road" in the US.

The reasons are explained on several sites - Google "bridges ice before roads" to see a few. This site is particularly graphic.

Black ice is specially dangerous over bridges, so be careful out there!

Cycle Magazines placed in waiting rooms

We’d like your help with a new scheme to advertise Portsmouth CTC.

We all receive the CTC magazine Cycle every 2 months after which it probably gathers dust in some corner or is recycled in the green bin.   The plan is that members place their old unwanted copies of Cycle in local waiting rooms in their area so that those waiting for, say, their doctor or dentist have an opportunity to browse through the magazine and ‘discover’ CTC, and also their local Membership Group.   You need to remove the Cycle Contact page so we don’t pass personal telephone addresses on to non-CTC members.   Instead we’ll staple or sellotape inside the Portsmouth CTC contact details, together with some basic information, so that if a reader’s interest is provoked they can follow it up.   I attach a suggested A5 Waiting Rooms Publicty Scheme Flyer for you to print off and use.

Continue reading

Site images

This page shows all the random images we display on pages in this site. The first set of pictures are scenes. The home page uses just these images; it displays a random selection of nine of these images. The second set is added to the first set and a single, random selection is put at the top of the rides list shown on most other pages.

If you hover your mouse over a set of images, the slider will stop. If you put your mouse at the left edge of the left image, an arrow will appear; click to show the previous picture. Similarly, put your mouse at the right hand edge of the right picture and click to show the next image.

Scenic images

Other images

These images are all the same width, but variable in height.

If you have any pictures that might be suitable for the site, let me know. Don't worry about sizes, I can resize pictures for the site.

Historic Billy Trail planning document

This document was produced by the Railway Path Project based in Bristol - a precursor to Sustrans.  It was commissioned by the Havant and District Safe Cycling Campaign - many of the activists were Portsmouth CTC members including current members Keith Wileman and Mike Edwards.

The document was aspirational but you can see much of what became the Billy Trail in the proposal.

All the pages of the proposal follow as scanned images.  Click on sections of the document to zoom in to that section.