Ten things you might not know about Langstone Harbour

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Here’s our list of facts about Langstone Harbour.

It was compiled by Jeff Travis, whose report on the harbour we published yesterday.

1 At the time of the last Ice Age, the area would have been a wooded valley with streams running along the course of today’s channels into the river Solent. There is evidence that Stone Age people hunted in the harbour. As the icecaps melted and sea levels rose at the end of the Ice Age, the sea gradually flooded the area until something like the present shape of the harbour was reached around 5,000 years ago.

2 For much of its history the harbour was an area of salt production. The Domesday Book records three salterns around the harbour and by the early 17th century a saltern at ‘Copner’ was well established.

3 In 1771 Farlington Marshes were reclaimed from the north of the harbour.

4 Oyster farming began in the harbour around 1820 with winkle and clam cultivation probably starting around much the same time.

5 At the entrance to Langstone Harbour stands Fort Cumberland, considered to be England’s most impressive piece of 18th century defensive architecture. It was built to defend the harbour.

6 Prior to 1960, the whole of Langstone Harbour was part of the Dockyard Port of Portsmouth and the Queen’s Harbour Master exercised control over moorings. An act of parliament established the Langstone Harbour Board, which is now self-funding and is governed by Havant and Portsmouth councils.

7 The harbour contains a number of islands - Baker’s Island, North Binness Island, South Binness Island and Long Island.

8 The birdlife is internationally celebrated and it ranks within the top 10 most important places for birds in the UK. Species regularly encountered include Shelduck, Dunlin, Plover, Godwit, Redshank and up six per cent of the world population of Brent Geese. Birds of prey including Kestrels, Buzzard and Little Owl are frequently seen. Around the harbour perimeter you might be lucky enough to spot Roe Deer, Water Voles and of course the occasional wily fox. Bottlenose dolphins and otters have also been spotted.

9 Past studies have revealed that up to 58 different species of fish live in the waters.

10 A 1,500-year-old Saxon logboat found buried in the mudflats was excavated in 2003 and went on display at Portsmouth City Museum.