Walking the Duver

Guest writer Mark Fox continues with his series looking at different places of interest on the Island. This issue he looks at the St Helen’s Duver to the lifeboat station walk.

A favourite walk at this time of year is to walk from the St Helen’s Duver round the harbour and along the coast to the lifeboat station. This is a walk that is glorious at any time of year of course, but as a family we find it particularly fun on one of those crisp clear winter days. The sky opens up over the eastern solent and the air can feel like a chilled glass of something fizzy.

Parking on the Duver the first stop is to pick up a fresh coffee from the Baywatch. Sipping it as you cut across the dunes and head down to the harbour. The first temptation is to cut the corner and opt to take the water ferry to the bank near the yacht club. If it’s anywhere near lunchtime then the temptation is worse – to take the ferry straight over to The Best Dressed Crab and settle in for one of their wonderful lunches. Resisting these two great distractions we head off down towards the linking sea wall, watching the hardy souls who are afloat or working on their boats.

Walking along the sea wall you have to take care. If it is wet or icey it is all too easy to slip on the uneven pathway. Watching the wildlife and the ever changing landscape is however a wonder. Passing past the old mill and through the car park to the road there is a great view along the length of the harbour.

Heading down the road the cars tend to whizz past but soon there is the always interesting prospect of the houseboats nestling on the shore and the glimpse of a more tranquil life. On the right there are the marine shops and stores which provide endless opportunities for browsing and spontaneous shopping.

Pushing along, past the cafes, you walk over the dunes and onto the beach. This part of the walk is best done when the tide is low. The beach is glorious and flat and an uninterrupted view of the sea and the coast opens up before you. On a clear day you can see down to Chichester and beyond.

For families and young children there are rock pools and plenty of sand. Fun whatever the weather and at any time of year.

Before you know it the lifeboat station is within range. The energetic may want to walk along the pier and look at the lifeboat – always fun.

Turning right it is a short walk up into the village and browse round the shops. Then down to the harbour to catch the ferry and back to the other side.

This is one of those walks that shows the Island at its best. Something for all the family, whatever age, whatever the year.