Jackie Baynes, Old Portsmouth.

The interesting heritage feature on esplanades by Sarah Burdett of the IW Society (CP 21-06-24) made me think readers might be interested to know about two brand new esplanades over in Old Portsmouth and Southsea.

They are part of Southsea's sea defence renewal programme.

The first section opened in February 2023.

This runs from Grand Parade near St Thomas's Cathedral and the Square Tower along to Clarence Pier.

It gives walkers a fine view across to Ryde, with extensive vistas to the west and east on clear days and finishes close to the Hovercraft terminal.

Archaeology revealed fascinating sections of centuries old defensive walls.

These have been incorporated into the new esplanade together with seating and maritime planting.

It really makes a very pleasant stroll along close to the Solent.

This year in May, the second section to be completed opened.

It runs from the Blue Reef Aquarium on Southsea seafront as far as Southsea Castle.

This run of promenade gives exceptional views across to the Isle of Wight, including views of the Solent sea forts, two of which were recently sold at auction for over £1m each, as featured in the County Press.

Again archaeology revealed 17th and 19th century military defences. Both the IW and Portsmouth can lay claim to these magnificent forts, which add interest to the views from both places.

The section at Southsea Castle incorporates tiered promenades and has been named The Theatre of the Sea.

It gives walkers a chance to sit down and watch Solent shipping movements: the cross-Channel ferries, naval vessels, yachts and the various ferries going to and from the IW.

More coastal defence sections are still to be completed.

By Spring 2025 the length from the Pyramids to Speaker's Corner near the Southsea Rock Garden will be open.

So, why not come on over to experience the results of this project for yourself!