Tournerbury woods is the most outstanding woodland area on Hayling Island. Consisting predominantly of oak and beech trees, the woods are an area of great natural beauty and a sanctuary for birdlife. The private woods and grounds of Tournerbury also hide many historic features.
Within the woods a rough semi-circular earth bank and ditch betray the remains of an iron age fort. The full circumference of this structure, believed to be an ancient Vallum & Fosse (defensive rampart and moat or ditch). This is described in a text from 1826* as being clearly defined around the entire circumference with nearly pristine southern and eastern parts. The construction is estimated at being 240 yards across at it’s widest and 200 at it’s narrowest with the vallum standing 7ft tall to match the width and depth of the fosse.
Elsewhere the remains of an eighteenth century kiln and brickyard remains clearly visible, as are ancient sea defences on the North East shore of the farm. North of the wood “windmill hill” is the site of an ancient barrow re-used as a mediaeval windmill mount.
Although the historic woods remain unspoilt, today Tournerbury is better known as the site of a 9 hole golf course and driving range.
* Topographics & Historical Account of Hayling Island
– Frank Westwood : I. Skelton