Eling creek is on the edge of Southampton and the New Forest down on the creek time stands still. The Tidal Mill at Eling is the only original tide mill in the country that is still open and working. The mill dates back to the 11th century but the current mill is a much newer being built in the late 18th century. The Domesday Book (1086) mentions a mill at Eling although it has been said the Romans had a mill here in the 3rd century AD. Running a pair of water wheels the mill was capable of grinding up to 4 tonnes of flour per day.
Priddy’s Hard is an area of Gosport opposite Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. Some 200 years ago it was developed as a fort. It later became a armaments depot for the Royal Navy and a weapons and explosives store for the British Army. The site today is being slowly redeveloped. Much of the site is now housing but many of the most historic building have been and are part of the museum “Explosion” which tells the history of the site and British Naval Firepower.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is the largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the Royal Navy. Capable of carrying up to 40 aircraft.
Part of the 1848 Royal Laboratory complex
Part of the former Shell Store of 1896.
Hythe Pier stretches 700 yards from the town of Hythe to the deep water channel of Southampton Water. It has a pedestrian walkway and a Pier Railway. From the Pier head a Ferry runs between Hythe and the city of Southampton.
A company was formed to construct a pier. After much delay the pier opened on January 1st, 1881
Trucks carrying luggage along the pier to the ferry were found to be damaging the pier decking, and in 1909 a narrow gauge railway was constructed on the northern side of the pier to replace the trucks. The vehicles were hand-propelled, and the track was laid flush with the pier decking.
A ferry has operated across Southampton Water since the middle ages today the ferry takes 10 minutes to cross each way.
In 1922 the current electrified railway was constructed on the southern side of the pier. At the pier head is a small covered station and waiting room.
During autumn 2016 the current owner, White Horse Ferries announced that the Hythe ferry was no longer a commercially viable business. Today the pier is run down and looks rather shabby. Strong community support to save the pier and this historic link to Southampton has grown and it is hoped this historic site will be saved.
A walk at Eling and Hythe opposite Southampton docks and container port. In low morning light. Despite living near Southampton all my life this is the first time I have walked along these bits of shoreline.
On land adjacent to Hythe Marina are a number of old concrete pontoons/barges which have been grounded and are part of old sea defences. This part of the shore is on “private” land.
Searching online I found some information about the concrete and metal pontoons they are called “Beetles” which was the code name for the floating pontoons. They were used to support the Mulberry Harbour in WW2 (they carried roadways). Marchwood Military Port which is close to this site built some of the floating harbour components which were towed to France just after D-Day. Once there they were put together to build a floating harbour and roadways. These “beetles” were probably spares which did not get towed to war. Their battle became the fight against coastal erosion.