At the end of the spit are Calshot Castle (built by King Henry VIII), an RNLI lifeboat, a Coastguard station, several slipways, a former Royal Navy and Royal Air Force flying boat station and Calshot Activities Centre.
The castle is a low, circular, stone structure and was armed with large muzzle-loading guns. Its purpose, when it was built in 1539, was to protect access to the important harbour at Southampton from seaborne attack, by France or Spain from the English Channel via the Solent.
Calshot Naval Air Station was originally set up in 1913. Its choice as a location for operating flying boats is clear: the landing area is sheltered by land on the three sides of Southampton Water and by the Isle of Wight, several miles away, on the fourth side. In 1929 and 1931, Calshot was the venue for the Schneider Trophy, an international air race for seaplanes.
The spit is a potential navigation hazard for ships entering Southampton Water, and vessels are guided by the Calshot Spit light float. This replaced a Trinity House lightship (LV 78) that was anchored off the spit and which now forms a permanent, static attraction at the Ocean Village marina in Southampton. It was built in 1914 by J I Thornycroft shipyard in Southampton and decommissioned in 1978.
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