Prior to the construction of the original wooden toll bridge in 1824, access to and exit from the Island was only possible either by boat or by use of the Wadeway. This three-quarter mile long footpath probably existed since pre-Roman times and offered a route between Langstone and Hayling for pedestrians and horse riders during the three hours either side of low water. Even today the remains of this route remain visible, extending between the Royal Oak at Langstone and Northney shore with oak stumps marking part of the route.

A piece of timber found at the Hayling end of the wadeway was proved by carbon dating to be 3,000 years old, giving us an indication to how long this route has actually been in use. The timber, which bares the mark of a bronze age axe can now be seen at the Havant museum