The Oyster beds


 When following links to further information, press the ‘back’ button to return to this page and continue reading.

History of the Oyster bed Area

As things were in 1864

Map showing the area before the Oyster beds were established at north west Hayling.The map shows the north west coast line with Creek Common and Stoke common on the coastline and stretching down to Stoke Common Lake (to the north east of Stoke village)

Map showing the area before the Oyster beds were established at north west Hayling

South of England Oyster Company

About Oysters

 It is recommended that you return to this page and not follow any of the linked posts, when you have read the linked section below. This will ensure contimuity of the story being given.

Read about Oysters, Oyster fishing and farming

1866 dispute with the Hayling Island Railways Company

In 1864, this Company took out a lease on the reclaimed mud land adjoining Creek Common and Stoke Common to create Oyster beds for the purpose of farming Oysters. The railway company undertook to maintain the railway embankment and the sluice gates beneath. The Oyster Beds were created after this map was published.

Map of Railways at Havant including the Hayling Island branch which was under construction. Indicated also is the area leased by the South of England Oyster Company.

Map of Hayling Island branch completed by 1865 (Black route) – Peter Drury

Work on completing the embankment ceased in 1865 due to difficulties experienced with stabalising this work to prevent the tides washing the embankment away.

The railway company presented a Bill to Parliament in 1866 to abandon the embankment route and replace it with a new route along the west coast of Hayling Island. This immediately brought an objection from the South Of England Oyster Company citing a breach in the agreement reached with the railway when they took out the lease. Progress with the Bill through Parliament was therefore delayed until mid July 1867 by which time the new railway had been built, at risk to the railway company, and offered to the Railway Inspectorate for inspection and approval.

Read more about this dispute 1

Read more about this dispute 2

Layout of the Oysterbeds

Late 1860s map of Oyster bed layout

Late 1860s map of Oyster bed layout

Oyster bed-Collectors used at the north Hayling Oyster beds

Oyster bed-Collectors used at the north Hayling Oyster beds

The Hayling Island Oyster Trade

Read about this here

The Oyster beds 1963 – 1987

Oyster farming ceased on the site just after the first world war and the land remained derelict until after the railway closed in 1963 when parts of the area were used as a household waste dump and a council highways depot until 1974. The walls around the Oyster beds had eroded and were little more than shingle banks.

A Commercial proposal to re-start Oyster farming on the site was received in 1980. Work commenced in 1981 to re-build the walls but by 1982 it was realised that the Planning consent had incorrectly stated the maximum heights of the walls. This led to a protracted negotiation until 1987 when the Company ceased trading. the works carried out in this period proved to be inadequate leading to unstable walls which, together with the theft of metal pipework etc. created a very real hazard to the public.

Read more about this

The Oyster beds from Crisis to triumph 1987 – 1996

Leaving the oyster bed area in such a hazardous state was not an option. From 1987 the Council explored various options for overcoming the problems of the Oyster beds with the County Council assisting in this in 1990. Funding any corrective actions was difficult to obtain.

Due to the international designations in force at the site an Enironmental Imact Assessment (EIA) was required as input to the Planning process. Borough Councillors, mindful of the need for an environmentally acceptable solution, required that the EIA should investigate all possible alternatives, not simply the alternative proposed by the officers of the Council. This was completed in 1995. When proposals were put to the public there was no clear support for any of the options offered.

Funding and Planning Consent work commenced in 1996 and was completed in 1999 resulting in the creation of the Oyster beds and nature reserve we all love today. The work was awarded Millennium status.

Re construction of Oyster beds and creation of Nature Reserve - Havant Borough Council

Re construction of Oyster beds and creation of Nature Reserve October 1996 – Havant Borough Council

Read more about this

North Hayling local nature reserve (Oyster beds)

Site Log 2010

Common Tern in airborne duel - Peter Drury

Common Tern in airborne duel – Peter Drury

This log may help you to understand what is going on during the breeding season. Please note it is a .pdf file.

View Site Log

Wildlife Spotter Guides

Follow the link for a series of spotter guides to assist in identification. This is the start of a range of such guides.

View Spotter Guides

Classification Systems

Not sure about why and how the universal classification system evolved, follow the link below for a simple walk through from the earliest attempts to the current system.

View classification systems

Life by classification system

These sections present life forms by classification system and images. Those found in the nature reserve are identified together with the locations where they can be seen. This is a growing section.



Birds (Aves)


Yet to be listed in taxomic form

Flora Gallery