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Solent Way ~ Hill Head to Gilkicker Point

Lee-on-the-Solent started life as a Victorian marine health resort with a pier and railway, now both long gone. Today Lee is a popular seaside resort with a fine promenade and beach.


HMS Daedalus at Lee-on-the-Solent was the principal base of the Fleet Air Arm and the site of the memorial to the men of the service who died during the Second World War. The Lee-on-Solent Memorial is dedicated to the 1,400 Fleet Air Arm personnel who have no known grave but the sea.


A small part of the old Fleet Air Arm base is now used as a Hovercraft Museum. The SR.N4 Princess Margaret is the sister craft to the Princess Anne which held the record for crossing the English Channel from Pegwell Bay (Ramsgate) to Calais in 22 minutes. In 1962 it became home to the Inter Service Hovercraft Trials Unit, its aim was the testing of hovercraft in an operational service environment.


Further along the road are some of Lee's sea front shops and a memorial garden to the local people who fell during World War One... to the memorial is the area that once had a railway station, the tall Lee tower and a pier out to sea, now all demolished. The two pitched buildings at the back were part of the old railway station. Onward to Stokes Bay and Gilkicker.


Stokes Bay No 2 battery (interpretation centre) is the only public part of Browndown Battery. The two batteries were built in 1852 and were extensively remodelled over the years. In 1905 the battery was declared superfluous even after receiving new armaments the previous year. Today as far as I can ascertain Browndown Camp is now mainly used by cadets and the Territorial Army.


Two very different styles of sea fishing.




One of the two new Augusta Westland rescue helicopters operated by HM Coastgaurd from the former HMS Daedalus airfield. The Solent district is probably the busiest in the country, largely due to the thousands of yachts, pleasure craft and commercial ships which transit the Solent, Southampton Water and the near by English Channel. The helicopters cover an area from Chewton Bunny on the Hampshire-Dorset border in the west to Beachy Head in Sussex, plus the whole of the Isle of Wight.


The headquarters of the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service at Stokes Bay. Founded in 1969 GAFIRS is an independent, free inshore rescue service that covers the Solent from Portsmouth Harbour to Titchfield Haven. All the volunteer crews, which include doctors, paramedics, divers etc, are on call from HM Coastguard 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Although the service is free they receive no government funding and need to raise 35,000 a year just to operate, this figure does not include the money needed for capital projects, such as new lifeboats or the replacement of equipment.


A rogue bouy beached on the GAFIRS slipway.


The Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service ship Moorhen about to replace a buoy in Stokes Bay.


Almost there, Gilkicker Point on the horizon...

Continued on Page 3 -  Please click here  

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Caption details are based on the latest available  information and are accurate to the best of my knowledge. Although the images are very heavily compressed you are welcome to use them for your own non-commercial use. If you do please credit HampshireCam or add a link  to these pages.

All Photographs copyright David Packman © 2002 - 2009 (All Rights Reserved)