Islands

Although the “rules” we walk to do not require us to include walking around the coast of all the islands of Britain (of which there are some 5,000+), if we happen to be able to take in an island we generally will.  Here are a list of islands we have walked round during our trek, listed in the order we reached them:

  • Canvey Island (Essex) – approx 4,351 acres.  Half built up, including heavy industrial; half untouched.
  • Isle of Sheppey (Kent) – approx 22,400 acres.  Three major towns and several other villages besides.  Also marshland, beach and bird sanctuary.
  • Thorney Island (Hampshire) – approx 1,450 acres.  A large island in the Chichester Channel, West Sussex.  A military base, you need to buzz in to access the public footpath and then buzz out again when you leave.
  • Hayling Island (Hampshire) – approx 6,671 acres.  A large island and the thirteenth most populated of the geographical British Isles.
  • Portsea Island (Hampshire) – approx 5,930 acres.  Home to Portsmouth and the third most populated island of the geographical British Isles, after Britain itself and Ireland.

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There are “islands” we have walked on which are not actually islands at all, again listed in the order we reached them:

  • Isle of Grain (Kent) – once an island on the River Medway, it has long since silted up and is now part of the mainland.
  • St Mary’s Island (Kent) – a 350-acre ex-swamp which was turned into a dockyard by convict labour, and then redeveloped and regenerated in the 1990’s onwards.
  • Horrid Hill (Kent) – once a tiny island, a causeway was built to it meaning it is now part of the British mainland.
  • Isle of Harty (Kent) – one third of the Isle of Sheppey, it is separated from Sheppey by Capel Fleet.  Once wide enough to take a ferry, it is now only a few feet wide.  Wildlife reserve, a couple of tiny farm villages, and a naturist beach.
  • Isle of Elmley (Kent) – another third of the Isle of Sheppey, this part is mostly nature and RSPB reserve.

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Finally, there are island we have not been able to reach (typically because there is no passage to them by foot), again listed in the order we (didn’t) reach them:

  • The Medway marshes and saltings (Essex/Kent) – Hoo Salt Marsh; Bishop Saltings; Nor Marsh; Gillingham Marshes; Oakham Marsh; Sharfleet Saltings, Slayhills Saltings; Milfordhope Saltings; Greenborough Marshes; Burntwick Island, Deadmans Island, etc – lots and lots of marshes and saltings standing in the River Medway.
  • The Swale islands (Kent) –  Horse Sands; Flanders Mare; Durchman’s Island; Fowley Island; The Lilies; etc – again, mainly marshland.
  • Pilsey Island (Hampshire) – in the Chichester Channel – a bird sanctuary.  I tried to get to it but it blends in so well with the sands that silt up the Channel I had no chance.  It is due to this silt that Pilsey Island is, in fact, no longer an island at all.
  • Long Island, North Binness Island, Baker’s Island and South Binness Island (Hampshire) – four small islets which site in Langstone Harbour, in between Portsmouth and Hayling Island.
  • Whale Island (Hampshire) – part of Portsmouth’s Naval Base.
  • Burrow Island (Hampshire) – a tiny tidal island in Portsmouth Harbour.  At low tide a spit of land connects it to the mainland, but the island is owned by the MoD and access is not permitted.

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