To the east lie the historic naval dockyard of Portsmouth, the seaside suburbia which is Lee on Solent, Cowes and the busy commercial docks and oil refinery in Southampton Water, but towards the western end of the Solent the northern shoreline is low lying, undisturbed and often protected saltings and mudflats.
Going west past the Beaulieu and Lymington rivers brings you to Keyhaven and the Hurst Spit, reaching out almost to the Isle of Wight, the western entrance and narrowest part of the Solent. An area of strong tides and broken water.
The view (below) across Keyhaven Lake showing Hurst Castle, the lighthouse and beyond the Isle of Wight less than three quarters of a mile away.
Hurst Castle, originally built in the 16th Century during the reign of Henry VIII to prevent enemy shipping from entering the Solent from the west, modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed and huge 38-ton guns were installed, two of which remain.
North west the mainland shore along Christchurch Bay to Milford on Sea.
South west from the top of Hurst Spit the view over Shingles Bank to the edge of the Isle of Wight and the famous Needles lighthouse.
Friday night paddle - around Ruffle Bar
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