EXPERTS are warning that the rediscovery of an ancient track off the Hampshire coast means the prehistoric path is in danger of being lost forever.

Fay Fraser and her daughter Iona were paddling at Calshot when they found what appeared to be the remains of a dugout canoe and a longboat – both of which had been exposed by the exceptionally low tide.

They contacted the Southampton-based Maritime Archaeology Trust (MAT), whose director, Garry Momber, visited the site.

An MAT spokesman said: “Fay led the way but to their dismay the canoe had been removed. The beach was scoured but nothing was found. Undeterred, they shifted their attention to the longboat.

“They waited until the tide dropped low enough to reveal lines of posts pushing up through the water.

“The structure proved not to be a longboat but something much more significant – a trackway that could be up to 5,000 years old.”

The spokesman said the path first emerged in 2015 after winter storms stripped away the shingle that had covered and protected the ancient route.

“The Trust hoped it would soon be covered again and protected,” he said.

“Its rediscovery by Fay and Iona demonstrates the threat the site is now facing. When it was below the silt it was protected but now it’s exposed and steadily eroding.”

He added: “It’s clear this waterlogged ‘Solent Sidewalk’ is under threat.

“The structure was built when the sea was lower and, as such, is a tangible indicator of sea level rise caused by climate change.

“It’s become threatened by increased storminess and is a potent reminder of the negative impact that will affect our coastlines. Unfortunately it will soon be lost if we do nothing.”

Now the Trust is appealing for donations to help it find a way of preserving the structure.

Calshot is near the former Fawley Power Station, which will be demolished and replaced by 1,500 homes and a luxury marina if plans being put together by its new owners are given the go-ahead.

The power station, was commissioned 1971 and Buried land surfaces from the Neolithic period were discovered during excavation work at the waterfront site.