352. Fishbourne to Emsworth

I decided that I would do another single day’s walk which would involve a return journey back to Shropshire on the same day. The forecast was for high temperatures across most of the UK. I’m not a big fan of walking in the heat, because I like to cover the miles which makes walking in temperatures of 30 deg centigrade very tiring. To get most of the walk over by midday I got up at the ridiculously early time of 02:00 and set off from my home. At this time of the day I made excellent progress down to West Sussex. I soon realised that I would have to wait for over one hour for the bus to take me to the start of the walk at Fishbourne, just on the edge of Chichester. Waiting for a bus for that long would be a waste of time, so I drove to Fishbourne and parked up.

I set off walking at 05:15, the sun had yet to rise and it was a beautiful and cool morning. Today’s walk would be around 3 small peninsulas that jut out into Chichester Harbour. I passed around Fishbourne Mill pond and headed through the tall reeds along the Fishbourne Channel. At this time of the morning I saw many Roe Deer who just stared at me ready to bolt should I approach them. Near Hook Farm, the pubic footpath turned inland and ultimately led onto a minor roads which I walked along without any vehicles disturbing the beautiful still morning air. At 05:30 the sun was up and I could already feel the heat. I  headed along the ferry lane, which led down to the Chichester Channel here I looked across to the village of West Itchenor where I was last Saturday. There is a ferry service, for those that want it, across the channel. I continued up the western shore of the Bosham Peninsula, with the Bosham Channel on my left.

Early morning at Fishbourne Mill Pond
Heading through tall reeds alongside the Fishbourne Channel
One of the many Roe deer I saw at this time of the morning
At the ferry point looking across the Fishbourne Channel to West Itchenor, where the ferry runs to

The views that were obscured during my last two visits to the area had now opened up and I could see across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the approaching Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. I made my way up the Bosham Channel towards the village of Bosham. The village was still very much asleep as I passed by the charming and attractive Anchor Bleu pub. It would be a fair few hours before it would be opening its doors to customers. As I rounded the head of the Bosham Channel, I joined the A259 for half a mile along a wide footpath.

Looking westwards across the Bosham Channel to the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Heading along the Bosham channel
The village of Bosham across a small creek
I noticed many cottages near the quay with these anti-flood measures across their front doors
The Anchor Bleu at Bosham
Holy Trinity Church Bosham
Rounding the Bosham Channel and heading south down the Chidham peninsula

I was now heading down my second peninsula, the Chidham peninsula. I now met more people out and about, walking their dogs or jogging. I rounded the tip of this peninsula at Cobnor at the confluence of the Chichester, Bosham and Thorney Channels. I headed northwards again following the Thorney Channel towards Prinsted. I had originally planned to park at Prinsted that morning and get the bus to Fishbourne but my early arrival in the area meant I had given myself 1.25 extra  hours of walking in the early morning.

At the confluence of the Chichester, Bosham and Thorney Channels looking across to West Itchenor
A Black-headed Gull at Cobnor Point
Looking across East Head and Hayling Island to the Solent and the Isle of Wight
At the top of the Thorney Channel at Prinsted. I asked the approaching if it was possible to follow this path to the opposing bank, but it was too deep at one point

As I rounded the top of Thorney Channel it had become very hot and I was now feeling the effects of 6 hours of being out in the sun.
Although I always cover up my skin and apply SPF 50, my body would absorb a fair amount of heat, so to try and cool myself down I have used in the past a UV parasol. Its like a small umbrella, although it would be useless in the rain. The top of the parasol has a reflective coating that reflects both UVA & UVB rays. Those UV rays that reflect off the ground up at me are absorbed by the black underside of the parasol. That’s the theory anyway!

Thorney Island was my final peninsula of the day and was different in that it is actually an island that is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel called The Great Deep, although it does not look that great! A small footbridge pans the Great Deep on its east and west sides. At the end of the footbridge is a rather formidable looking security gate with high razor wired fences, security cameras and a plethora of warning signs. At low tide it would be very easy to walk around this obstruction, but I suspect would attract a great amount of unwanted attention from the guardhouse. Thorney Island used to be a RAF base and  although the airfield is still there it is disused. The army now have barracks on the Island and that’s the reason for the security. A footpath, the Sussex Border Path, follows the shoreline around the island and all walkers are required to stick to it. I passed the Thorney Island sailing club pier at West Thorney and also the base for the Army Inshore Sail training centre.

I rounded the tip of Thorney Island at Longmere Point and headed westwards to Marker Point which provided a great view up and down the Emsworth Channel and across to Hayling Island. I passed a number of walkers and sun bathers as I now headed northwards along the Border path to my final destination – Emsworth, which sits on the Sussex/Hampshire border. A good day’s walk, but a tiring one, given the travel requirements and the heat!

Heading through a boatyard making my way down the Thorney Island peninsula
The security gate at the Great Deep
The Great Deep flowing into Thorney Channel
The spit at East Head, where I was a few weeks back
Damaged sea wall at Longmere Point
Cannot be sure if this was Giant Hogweed or not. It was about 8 – 9 ft tall and a purple splodge on the stem and the right type of leaf, I gave it a wide berth anyway
At Marker Point looking across the Emsworth Channel to Hayling Island
Passing through the western security gate
Heading towards Emsworth

Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 6,529 miles

 

351. Selsey to Fishbourne

With family commitments and an impending matter of a football game against Italy on the horizon I decided I could just about fit a single days walk in on the south coast. I reasoned that traveling there and back on a Saturday should see lighter traffic and so it turned out to be.

Today’s walk would essentially be around the large peninsula of land with Selsey Bill as its southern promontory. I looked at the free parking possibilities and decided at a half way point of walking into Chichester to catch a bus and where I would finish today’s walk. After parking close to Chichester College I walked the mile into Chichester and caught the 07:05 #51 bus to Selsey, it being a Saturday I could use my Bus Pass. I must admit I have not used it as much as I would like, as most of my bus journeys occur before 09:30, the watershed after which the Pass is accepted.

The weather forecast for the day did not look good and I accepted that I was going to get wet. It turned out that it rained lightly for virtually all of the walk and I kept my walking jacket on the whole time. However, the big plus was that it was warm. In fact, as I continued my walk along the sea front of Selsey, bathers were in the water while the rain fell. It was also very gloomy and overcast, so again along this part of the coast I had poor and restrictive views and visibility. As the tide was well out I managed walk around to Selsey Bill. From the west side of the peninsular I could just about make out other land forms in the mist that were seemingly the Isle of Wight and the body of the water before me the start of The Solent.

From my maps and reading other trip reports I knew I had to begin heading inland as like Pagham Harbour I needed to circumvent the large Nature Reserve of Medmerry. In the past it had been possible to walk along the coast, but an intentional breech had been made in the shingle shore allowing a deep fast-flowing stream called the Broad Rife to pass into the sea. The paths, tracks and roads are poorly presented on the OS maps, so I used the Google Maps satellite view to plot a way around the Reserve.

Heading along a very wet Selsey sea front
At Selsey Bill
Looking over Medmerry Reserve from one of the few look-out points

After an hours walk I emerged back on the shoreline at Bracklesham and continued on towards East Wittering. Atop the shingle beach there was no sea wall or compacted shingle to walk on, so I descended down onto the beach to pick up a good line of firm sand to walk along. The shingle began to disappear and the beach broadened out to become quite flat and a darkish grey colour. The presence of a huge car park  meant the beach was quite busy with many paddle boarders,bathers and  a few beach parties. The light rain continued to fall, but because it was still quite warm, nobody seemed to mind.

Back on the coast at Bracklesham
Heading along the beach at East Wittering
Paddle boarders near East Head

I knew I would soon come to the entrance to the Chichester Harbour, a huge natural harbour of special scientific interest as well as an area of outstanding natural beauty. I could have continued out to the spit of East Head but decided against it and continued  along an excellent shoreline path, which formed part of the New Lipchis Way. The word “Lipchis” is an acronym for the path which runs from Liphook in Hampshire down to Chichester and then onto East Head. I continued along this path, which with the rain had become quite muddy. On my left Chichester Harbour had become full both with a flowing tide and hundreds of small pleasure craft. It did not take long to get to West Itchenor, a small village with boatyards, jetties and a pub.

Looking across to East Head spit and Chichester Harbour

 

This Oak tree caught my eye with its central core rotted away but still very much alive!
On the New Lipchis Way

I walked through the village, past really impressive and expensive houses on the shores of the Chichester Channel. I arrived at Salterns Lock in need of some refreshment, so a cup of coffee and slice of walnut cake went down a treat. I was able to consume these refreshment at my leisure as I intended to cross over the locks of the marina. However, the gates to the marina were left open, as this was a period  of “free flow” in and out of the marina i.e. the water level in the marina and harbour were the same. After about 15 minutes the lock gate was closed and I was able to cross and continue northwards. At Dell Quay, I followed the Fishbourne Channel for the final 1.5 miles into Fishbourne.  I emerged on a very busy A259 and walked another mile or so back to the car.

Boatyard at West Itchenor
Spooky life-size statues in a private garden at West Itchenor
On the lock gates of the old Chichester Ship Canal
A boat passing through the lock into the harbour during “free flow”
The Crown and Anchor at Dell Quay
Rounding the end of the Fishbourne Channel at Fishbourne

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 6,508 miles

 

Commemorative Platters/ Bowls/ Vases: Update 2

Well things have moved on since my last update. I went to collect my headstock from Preston and fitted back onto my lathe. The lathe is working perfectly and I have begun ‘rough-turning’ the pieces of green timber. It would have been quite dangerous to turn these pieces without having to control the speed that they turn at.

I created a number of truckles ranging from 14” to 20 “ and have mounted them on chucks and begun to rough-turn them. This means turning them into a shape that will approximate to what they may look like at the end of the process. The wood I am turning is ‘green’ and has a very high moisture content i.e 32%. It means when the piece begins to rotate at speed, centrifugal force throws water out and my face shield resembles a car windscreen in the rain! The good news is that turning ‘green’ is quite enjoyable as the turning tools create nice long spiral shavings . Once I have a platter / bowl  roughly in a shape that I want, I need to dry it out. Its starting off at 32% and I need to bring it down to about 10 – 11% before I make the final cuts. It would take years for these pieces to dry naturally, so I use a Wood Kiln converted from a Beko Freezer. With a 2” hole drilled in the base to allow air and a similar sized hole at the top acting as an exhaust. To get the air circulating I need to heat it up and I do this by the old incandescent light bulbs which can be still bought online. I have been using a 100watt bulb and this really gets things going. Although I could use the moisture meter to measure the drop in moisture content, it is not that accurate for thicker wood. The only solution is to weigh the roughly turned piece regularly, noting any weight  loss.

What I am looking for as the wood dries are  minute cracks which I will apply CA (superglue) to – it stops the crack developing. One thing that I cannot control though is the warping and deformation of the shape of the bowl as it dries out. This is the reason for rough turning and leaving sufficient ‘meat’ on the wood to get it back into a round shape.

So as it stands at the moment I have rough turned about bowls which are slowly drying.

On the fund raising side my wife and I have selected 10 charities that we would like to benefit from the sale of these crafted articles. They are:

i) Cancer Research UK – I have lost friends and family to this terrible disease over the years

ii) Oxfam

iii) Muscular Dystrophy UK – My young nephew Jamie died from this muscle wasting disease

iv) Lupus Research UK – Our son Matthew died from this disease in 1998, he was 11 years old

v) Alzheimers Research UK

vi) British Heart Foundation

vii) Donkey Sanctuary

viii) Severn Hospice – a local charity offering hospice care

ix) Cinnamon Trust – a charity that helps terminally ill people with the care of their pets

x) Woodland Trust – the ‘lungs’ of the planet and appropriate that the death of one tree helps preserve many others.

I have contacted the charities involved and have received very positive feedback and guidance. Although my efforts will not raise great sums of money, I feel I am contributing by making something that people will want to buy and thereby supporting these charities.

Below are some photos of what I have been talking about and I will keep you informed of my progress on and off the coast!

A truckle on the lathe ready to be turned
This is the completed base of the platter, the small hole in the centre is the mortice where the chuck will be attached when I turn the bowl around
The platter has been turned around and is ready for ‘scooping’ out the top of the platter
This is the completed ‘rough-turned’ platter ready to dry-out
My old Beko freezer, now a wood kiln. The incandescent light bulb can be seen at its base. The wooden boss sticking out of the bottom of the platters is simply to stop warping as the platter dries and are removed when the platter is ready for final turning

 

 

This is a rather tall wooden rough-turned vase that cannot fit into my kiln. Its so big I had to cut it in half to remove the inner wood. The glue line will be disguised when I do the final turning which could be awhile yet!

 

This is a 19.5″ rough-turned platter that is currently drying out in the Kiln, I have placed it against a large dinner plate to show how big it actually is

 

This will be my ‘burned in’ logo for all of the pieces that I craft for this project

350. Littlehampton to Selsey

On arriving at my accommodation, a pub in the village of Findon, I noticed a range of beers on tap which I had never heard of before, so after dumping my bags in the room I popped downstairs for a quick pint. The bar was empty so no covid-catching worries. This was the first time I had been in a pub since 2019 and the pint of Harvey’s Sussex Best went down a treat!

I made a very early start the following morning, leaving the accommodation at 04:15, as it was almost 30 miles to drive to the end of my walk in Selsey. There was thick fog which would be with me for most of the days walk. I intended to use the large car park at East Beach, at £1.70 for the day it was a fee I didn’t mind paying. Unfortunately, the barriers were down and it seemed the car park was not open until 08:00, but I managed to find free roadside parking close to the car park and was able to catch the 05:22 #51 bus into Chichester. I did not have to wait long for a #700 bus on towards Littlehampton.

I got off the bus at the railway station and promptly got a cup of coffee and walked the short distance to the footbridge over the River Arun. Here I sipped  my coffee while looking  down the River Arun on a very foggy morning. I followed the Arun on its western bank for a short distance cutting across a golf course towards the coast.  I followed a compacted shingle path of sorts before emerging onto the promenade leading into Bognor. I passed the Butlins holiday camp with its characteristic big-top tents that I had seen years ago in Minehead. The pier at Bognor was a bit underwhelming after passing Eastbourne’s and Brighton’s piers, although it had been shortened after fires ravaged the buildings in the past.

The footbridge over the River Arun at Littlehampton
An extremely foggy and murky morning looking down The Arun
Back on the shoreline with limited views
Breakwater sea defences at Middleton-on-Sea

It did not take long to walk along Bognor’s promenade and I soon had to get down on the beach to avoid the loose shingle. I continued along the foreshore until I needed to head for Pagham. Pagham Harbour is not really a harbour but a large tidal inlet that is a large Nature Reserve and RSPB site. There is a good footpath all the way around the periphery of the harbour and I met many bird-watchers with mega-zoom lenses attempting to get that perfect shot. I passed through the small village of Sidlesham Quay. After crossing a sluice gate I now head down the sea bank on the far side of the Harbour. As I approach close-by Church Norton I meet other walkers who had used the small nearby car park. I also came upon a portable gazebo sort-of-tent with a small group of RSPB volunteers trying to get passers-by to sign up to a subscription for the RSPB. The shade offered by the tent was much needed as over the last hour most of the fog had burnt away leaving a very hot sun to beat down on those out and about.

Heading along the sea front into Bognor Regis
The distinctive big-tops of Butlins
The shortened pier at Bognor
Looking back towards Bognor
Heading towards Pagham along the shoreline – easy walking
At Pagham Harbour
Looking out on Pagham Harbour from Pagham Wall
The Old Malt House at Sidlesham Quay, I just love those wavy lines in the roof tiles.
Getting some shade under an Oak tree at Pagham Harbour
I think this is a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull

It was not long before I emerged from a rough track serving the small houses and chalets below the shingle beach onto the sea front at Selsey. At this spot I read a Blue Plaque informing me that this was view from the spot that inspired the musician Eric Coates to compose the small light orchestral piece “By the sleepy lagoon” back in 1930. It was certainly “sleepy” today although most of the haze remained and it was difficult to make out Bognor. The tune was used as the main theme for the successful radio programme Desert Island Discs, first produced in 1942 and still going strong. Its a piece of very relaxing music that harks back to a time when life was not so hectic.

Blue plaque dedicated to Eric Coates at Selsey East Beach
The view that inspired the composition – unfortunately still quite hazy
Heading along the sea front into Selsey

Ten minutes later I was back at the car. The less said about the drive back  home the better! I always advise others not to drive up and down motorways on a Friday afternoon, I should have heeded my own advice as the volume of traffic on the roads meant a lengthy delay in getting home.

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 6,488 miles

 

 

349. Brighton to Littlehampton

I’m off to Sussex again to continue on from where I left off from Brighton a couple of weeks ago.

As usual, before I left home, I went through my logistics routine of checking the weather, getting affordable accommodation, where to park and the public transport available to get to the start end of the walk. I managed to get a single nights accommodation in the sleepy village of Findon, some 9 miles from the coast nestling within the South Downs. I always make a list of possible bus/train times as I cannot guarantee what the traffic would be like on the drive down from Shropshire. I opted to finish the walk in the seaside resort of Littlehampton and finding a free space to park meant doing the last couple of miles of the walk at the start!

I parked on a residential road, in a small lay-by and made sure I was not stealing any local residents parking spot. I headed down to the coast which was about a 1km away and then proceeded westwards along the promenade until I arrived at the mouth of the River Arun. I would need to walk inland now to get to the first bridging point, in this case a footbridge. The footbridge was close to the railway station and it was there that I headed for. The bridge crossing wouyld have to wait until the tomorrow, as I now needed to catch a train to Brighton, albeit with a change of trains at Worthing. The cost of the single fare was an eye-watering £12.10, as my Senior Railcard was not valid until after 9:30.

I had made good time on the drive down and so managed to arrive in Brighton at just turned 08:00. Even at this time of the morning the sea front was quite busy with walkers, joggers , cyclists, people on their way to work and those setting up the many small cafes strewn along the promenade. The weather forecast was good with it being quite warm with a gentle breeze, although the visibility was poor with views limited to about half- a mile due to the extreme haze. Today’s walk would be almost all along the sea front, with only a couple of minor incursions inland.

As I set off along the promenade I wondered what the huge metal tube was pointing up at the sky. It was only when I got closer did I see a large glass pod, in fact a 360 degree viewing chamber, being worked on below me. This was the British Airways i360 viewing platform, 450 feet in height, with a bar onboard and offering , on a clear day (unlike today), amazing views. Normally, I would have jumped at the chance to go up in it, but today with the haze it would have been a waste of £16!

Looking back towards Brighton Pier

 

 

Heading along Brighton sea front
The old Brighton Pier abandoned in 2003 after 2 fires
The viewer capsule of the BA i360 getting a clean
Looking up at the BA i360 tower

I made good progress westwards and soon passed through Hove and into neighbouring Portslade-by-Sea and Shoreham. I was now on a long sliver of land, bounded by the sea on one-side and Shoreham harbour and its collection of industrial factories on the other. This sliver of land was in fact a dead-end, however, I could get back onto the mainland via a path over the harbour lock gates and onto the busy A259.

I was on the main road for a couple of miles and soon found a Lidl store where I popped in to replenish my drinks stock and a pastry. Close by Lidl I noticed quite a large granite stone memorial to a Police Constable Jeffrey Tooley who “fell” near this spot in 1999. I later found out that the constable was doing a speed check with a colleague close to this spot when a career criminal who was speeding along the road and not intending to stop struck and  killed the officer. The criminal later burnt the car, but was still caught and sentenced to 7 years.

Heading into the industrial area of Shoreham Harbour
Crossing over the lock gates at Shoreham Harbour
The still working Kingston Buci lighthouse from 1846

 

The roadside memorial to a fallen Police constable killed on duty

I left the busy road and crossed over the Ardur onto the adjacent side of Shoreham Harbour and made my way back to the sea front. The next three miles was along a mixture of sea wall and compacted shingle bringing me into Worthing. I had visited the town twice before as my daughter did her “gap year” working in a bank in the town during the early noughties. With the pier in sight I decided I needed a break and a rest, eating my lunch in a bus shelter. As I headed along the sea front out of the town I passed a number of people who were pointing and taking photos of something behind me in the sky. I turned and saw that it was the Good Year airship or dirigible, although the term Blimp is still used. It made a couple of maneuvers above Worthing and then headed west along coast. The airship was remarkably quick  and I later learned the newer airships have a top speed of 75mph as it disappeared into the haze.

Crossing over the footbridge across the River Ardur
Looking down the River Ardur at low tide
The pier at Worthing
The Worthing Ferris wheel
The approaching Good Year Airship
The Good Year airship
Blimp fly-by
Heading westwards along the coast into the haze

The next six miles seemed to drag by as my legs started ache a bit, but I still had plenty of ‘puff’ to keep up a good place. I passed by Goring-on-sea and into Kingston, walking along compacted shingle, then onto sections of greensward and finally back onto loose shingle, which meant dropping  down to the waters edge to find firm sand to walk on. There were still much ‘steeple chasing’ to do over the numerous groynes, but I soon emerged back onto the sea front at Rustington on the outskirts of Littlehampton where the walk ended.

Heading along the foreshore
The mouth of the River Arun at Littlehampton
Heading upstream along the River Arun towards the bridging point

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 6,472 miles