Emsworth Harbour

Emsworth Harbour – the view to the sea in early spring looking towards Hayling Island. Acrylics on paper 41 x 31 cm.


Emsworth Harbour isn’t a harbour in the conventional sense. The pretty town of Emsworth has shallow anchorage for yachts and small boats, but here the word ‘harbour’ means only a safe and calm place. Emsworth Harbour adjoins Langstone Harbour, also an amorphous area of shallow water and deep trenches, cut by centuries of river water.

A good walk can be had by starting at the Emsworth millpond. Continue along the shoreline, past endless tamarisks growing by the sea wall, all the way to Langstone Harbour mill. The walk is more diverse if you follow the footpath indicated. This will take you through Nore Wood, and along lanes and tracks, ending up in the same place. Of course, you can walk the other way too. The sea covers the coastal path at high tide.

At the end of March 2021, I couldn’t bear another second of being cooped up. This was during the coronavirus lockdown, but travel was still possible. I needed the sea, and Emsworth Harbour and Hayling Island were closest. There were quite a few people at each end, but I had the walk to myself and it was quite beautiful. Lagoons have a special light, as anyone who has been to Venice will know. The trees were just coming into leaf, and there was early cherry blossom. I went on to cross the Hayling Island road bridge and down to the old oyster beds, where the gulls were examing their nesting site.

If you like this painting, you might also enjoy this view of Portsmouth from Hayling Island, or this view of autumn light.