West Beach is situated on the southwest corner of Hayling Island between the Inn-on-the-Beach and the Hayling Golf Club. In the early part of the 20th century, the coastline at West Beach was much further seaward and Gunner Point was not the prominent feature that it is today. The construction of coastal defences and other structures have evolved the coastline to its current shape and position. Monitoring surveys are undertaken by our Geomatics Division, to help understand the natural evolution taking place at West Beach.
Beach defences sited at West Beach consist of a timber revetment and timber groynes. Behind these structures are beach huts, a car park, and a SSSI (Special Site of Scientific Interest). The timber sea defences at West Beach were constructed in 1976 in response to beach erosion. As Hayling is exposed to large, powerful waves, over time the structures have become worn by the action of the waves and are now nearing the end of their functional life.
Following storm damage, the western section of the revetment was removed in March 2012 and a further section in June 2013, with approval in principle to remove the remaining sections once the structure became unmaintainable (see figure 1). Since these operations, the previously adjoining groynes became outflanked and rapidly deteriorated. These groynes were submerged at high tide and held very little beach material. As a result, they were removed between 2018 and 2021 due to the unacceptable health and safety risk that they posed.
Currently, the remaining revetment and its associated groyne (groyne 53) are functional despite their age. Their condition is being monitored and decisions on the future of the remaining timber structures will be taken when the condition changes.