View of Portsmouth from Hayling Island

View of Portsmouth from Hayling island, looking across Langstone Harbour, in early autumn. Acrylics on gesso board – 40.6 x 30.5 cm


View of Portsmouth from Hayling Island. You follow the path from the northeast of Hayling Island (the ‘Puffing Billy’ path of the old railway line) and walk due south. After about ten minutes you pass the old oyster beds and another quarter-hour takes you to this spot.

Behind you will be a brick WW2 pillbox. There is also a bench and a signboard that I removed for aesthetic reasons. The wind-sculpted trees and the special light of the lagoon make it almost Mediterranean.

The lagoon in question is part of the extended body of water between Portsmouth and Hayling Island called Langstone Harbour. The area is rich in wildlife but under threat from pollution. It is easier for water companies to pump sewage into the environment and pass the resulting fines on to customers through their bills.

The distant skyline of Portsmouth appeared rather alien to me: the mess of buildings, towers, and cranes of the city seemed almost post-apocalyptic. Fanciful or not, the two environments of busy Portsmouth and the calm beach are a world apart.

Here’s another lagoon, albeit in Venice, a view of San Giorgio Maggiore. Or you might like this view of Hayling island from Emsworth.