Walk around Thorney Island

A walk around Thorney Island is nine miles and takes about three to four hours, but guides you around some excellent West Sussex coastline. It’s right on the Hampshire border next to Emsworth.

It’s a circular walk around the peninsula on a public footpath that hugs the shoreline and the MOD owned British Army Military base.

Discover one of the South’s best hidden white sand beaches!

The start of the walk around Thorney Island

Thorney Island

Opposite the Sea Scout Hut, Prinsted Lane, Prinsted, Southbourne PO10 8HS

The loop around Thorney Island is nine miles, very flat and about three to four hours depending on how fast you walk.

The beach path on the Walk around Thorney Island

Things you need to know…

You don’t need a map – you’re unable to walk inland on Thorney Island due to the MOD land and you must follow the public footpath all the way around the edge.

The only bit you’re going to need a little bit of help is making your way from Emsworth Marina back to Prinsted Lane. Once out of Marina, take a right on Thorney Road, then left onto Thornham Lane and another left onto Prinsted Lane. This is the road that leads you back to the start.

The MOD Gate near the beginning – not long into the walk you’ll hit an MOD barrier gate with a buzzer. Press the button and be patient, you can be waiting for quite a while here but, someone somewhere will buzz you through.

No cut throughs – once on the path there is no short cut back through the island, it’s either continue forward or turn back.

Watch out for livestock – you’ll see cows and sheep on your visit, make sure to close the gates behind you and give them a wide berth when walking around them.

A bird watching hut on the walk around Thorney Island

Walk the Route

This walk takes in marinas, beaches and small shrubbery, it’s a stunning stretch of coastline. And, when you hit the beach section which is about an hour and a half into the walk, it feels like you’re in an entirely different place.

I was so surprised when I reached the beach, I just wasn’t expecting dunes and a huge stretch of white sand. I know Witterings is a bit further along the coast but this is on the Wessex Hampshire border and never knew of its existence beforehand!

The white sands and sea views really take you out of yourself. We have great beaches in the UK and some of the best are more hidden like this one. I’m severely tempted to cart a picnic on the walk next time and spend a few hours on the beach.

The beach on the walk around Thorney Island

I don’t live that far away but I’d never heard of this walk before and it’s thanks to some friends who we met up with to try it. It was very quiet and while we did see people as we went along, it wasn’t very frequently.

It definitely felt like we had the space to ourselves, which was a lovely bit of escapism.

Now that The Deck has cafe kiosks situated near the start and finish you can start or end your walk with some food and refreshments too.


  • No toilets.
  • About 10 free car parking spots at the starting point. If there’s none, you’ll have to go to Emsworth and pay for parking.
  • The Deck has street food kiosks at the start at Thornham Marina and near the end at Emsworth Marina.
  • This is not an accessible walk – parts of the path are muddy, sandy or extremely narrow.

Thorney Island Walk

I can’t believe I’ve not seen this walk listed anywhere before, it instantly shot to near the top of my list. It’s a beautiful bit of coastline and a decent distance too.

The walk felt like it went really quickly and I can’t wait to go and do this one again.

If you liked this, take a look at these other great places to visit nearby in Hampshire…

3 thoughts on “Walk around Thorney Island

    1. Hi Deborah, yes but only if you keep your dog on the lead. I have a dog and took her but didn’t let her off the lead in case she strayed into the MOD land. You are not able to venture inland, so it’s worth keeping that in mind.

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