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

 

10 thoughts on “351. Selsey to Fishbourne”

  1. That peninsula is known as (don’t laugh), the Manhood Peninsula. I did it when it was still possible to walk between Selsey and Wittering on the beach, before the reserve was created. I am rather grateful for that.

    It did brighten up later in the day on that part of the coast. I know this because friends of mine spent the day on the beach there (and shared photos), as their trip was planned weeks ago (due to the pandemic you have to pre-book for the car park at West Wittering at the moment and it sells out on Saturdays). I was in Scotland at the time but if it didn’t also clash with my pre-booked trip to Scotland I’d also have been there and you’d have walked past me!

    The walk around Chichester Harbour is pretty nice too. If you have time there is a Roman ruins you can see at Fishbourne (you have to pay to go in though)

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    1. Hi Jon, thanks for your comments. Yes I did know about “Manhood” but cannot remember where I saw it it. Its certainly not on 1:50 & 1:25 OS maps thats why I did not mention it, although apparently it was originally referred to as the Hundred of Manwood, but Manhood sounds better! LOL. I always re-read your old TR’s prior to planning a walk, it saves me taking any dead-ends that thwarted yourself. Good luck in Scotland

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  2. I like the statues, missed those. There are some amazing properties on that walk and some good pubs. I think it was the Ship Inn where I sat out in the sun for a first pint after whatever phase of lockdown we were in. Shame you missed East Head, which is wild and pretty. However, you still get to see the lovely dunes on West Wittering beach. I don’t suppose you came across a pack of English Setters?

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    1. Hi Tony, thanks for the comments. Yes I walked past The Ship in West Itchenor but was a bit wet and bedraggled . I generally don’t drink when I’m on a walk…… but there are exceptions when I was in North Devon I popped into the Wreckers Retreat bar at Hartland Quay, got chatting to a chap and two pints of Doom Bar later I was on my….it felt dead weird though! More recently I called in at The Ramsholt Arms on the River Deben in Suffolk for a pint of….forget what I had. But I watched a recent film called Yesterday, I won’t bore you with the details, but there is a scene in the film outside on the veranda in the exact spot where I sat down for my pint. Jon C, will know the pub I mean. Sorry saw lots of doggies but no setters, I think.

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  3. Hi Ruth, I’m not that bothered really about the bad weather, although its nice to have good views and visibility. I agree about the spooky statues although I suspect they were inspired by The Handmaids Tale

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  4. Always find your posts really informative, now you are in our part of the country I guess I can feel I can comment – Yep, the West Wittering beach is a real gem – probably the finest stretch of sand on the east side of the Solent…

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      1. Yes a bit unsettled… – On your next leg, I’m wondering if you’ll get to to ‘Meon Shore’ might be on the next part….

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  5. Actually my next section will probably befrom Emsworth to Langstone via a circumnavigation of Hayling Island. I think a few more days before I reach Meon Shore

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