A canvas of sand and sea

The unique quality of early morning light, a canvas of sand and sea and two horses leaving a sun-crested wake as they move through the shallows.

It’s undeniable that we live in a stunning part of the British Isles.

These images are of West Beachlands at Hayling Island near Portsmouth, a sheltered stretch of the south coast with direct beach access from the car park which makes it perfect for riding.

In the busier months, from Good Friday to the end of September, riding is only allowed before 10am and after 7pm. For the rest of the year though there are no limitations and a winter hack, I’m told, is sensational.

It’s a fantastic, an almost moving sight, as you watch these animals canter across the beach – definitely worth a visit to Hayling in the hope you will catch it.

But for the riders, the sound of the footsteps through the water and the sense of big skies and best friends, makes for the most relaxing of all workouts.

Low tide is best, but be careful as the water fills from the inside first so there is a risk of being cut off so check the tide times carefully.

As well as rides along the beach, the Hayling Coastal Path, also called the Hayling Billy Trail is a great route along the bed of an old railway line between Havant and Hayling Island.   The scenery is stunning with views across Langstone Harbour (where, by the way, there’s a great pub on the waterfront, The Royal Oak) and across to Portsmouth.

It’s a route which is of course equally  good for cyclists or for a walk with the dog.

Parking for West Beachlands sand bank is right by the Inn on the Beach, PO11 0AS – sounds like a spot for some supper after your walk, hack or bike ride?

Langstone mill built in 1730