Sailors ‘claim’ Britain’s newest isle after small landmass forms off south coast
Two sailors have ‘claimed’ the isle, that lies five miles into The Solent, and named it Lentune Island.
Britain has a brand new isle after a landmass formed off the south coast – and it has already been “claimed” by two sailors.
The uncharted territory, that measures 330ft by 65ft, formed five miles into The Solent – the water between mainland Britain and the Isle of Wight.
Sailors Chris Fox and Nick Ryley were the first to make landfall at the isle and have claimed it by painting the flag of the Royal Lymington Yacht Club in Hampshire and planting it in the middle of the shingle bank.
The pair have named the isle Lentune Island, after the original name for Lymington from 1,000 years ago.
The half-acre isle, which is fully visible at low tide, has gradually built up over the last few months to the east of historic Hurst Castle.
It is thought Lentune Island has formed naturally as a result of work to protect the castle from coastal erosion after one of its walls collapsed in 2021.
Thousands of tonnes of shingle have since been dug up from the seabed to bolster Hurst Spit.
The excavations have altered the tidal currents and conditions which in turn has moved the shingle about to form the new bank.
Now local sailors and fishermen are calling on the authorities to recognise it and chart it to stop mariners from grounding on it at high tide.
Fox, who is aged in his 50s, said: "We had been monitoring the island for a while. It started as a strange lump in the sea and just kept growing.
"Nick had the idea that we should head out there and try to see exactly how big it had become…
"We took a flag for a bit of fun but in all seriousness I think it is dangerous for any visiting sailors who don't know the area very well.
"We're trying to spread the word with the RNLI that this is a new hazard which could prove disastrous for someone unaware of it.
The new landmass has caused a lot of concern for the local RNLI team which has also been monitoring the progress of the island.
Alistair Mackay, manager of Lymington Lifeboat Station, said: "We know that the local sailing clubs are aware of the problem but we worry about visiting sailors.
"It definitely will be a problem, in storm conditions being grounded on the shingle would be disastrous.
"You wouldn't be able to swim to shore and the rocks and waves battering the boat would cause real damage.
"We are advising people to be very careful even if they are experienced sailing in the area.“
An English Heritage spokesperson said: "The Hurst Spit and the wider coastal environment around Hurst Castle is complex and ever changing, facing issues such as longshore drift, rising sea levels and more frequent storms.
"Any work undertaken to care for Hurst Castle is carried out as part of the Beach Management Plan and in close discussion with those statutory bodies responsible."