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:
- Two Tree Island (Essex) – approx 170 acres. Landfill turned bird sanctuary.
- 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.
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.
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.