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Chidham circular, 5 miles.
This is a mostly coastal walk, offering great views across Chichester Harbour. Parts can be muddy after wet weather, and the shore section is rocky and uneven in places.
The walk. Start at Cobnor Farm Amenity Car Park (PO18 8TD). Walk due east beside a field to the shoreline, then turn to the south and follow the shoreline for about 3 miles around Cobnor Point and up the west side of the peninsula on a combination of beach and embankment paths. Take the waymarked footpath to the right until you reach the lane. Turn right and wind your way along the lanes back to the carpark, passing ‘the Old House at Home’ – one happy day this will be open again for refreshments.
A shorter, more accessible version, available to blue badge holders only, is to park at the Sailing Club (PO18 8TE) and walk to Cobnor Point from there. The path is wide and flat, and just over a mile there and back.
Bosham to Smugglers Lane alongside Bosham Channel
Where to park: Bosham Lane pay and display car park (with public conveniences).
Sat nav PO18 8HT. Map: OS Explorer 120 SU805039
Length: approx. 4 miles round trip, but with shorter options by parking in parking bays along Shore Road.
Accessibility: apart from the beach, all tarmac paths and roads. The beach section should be fairly dry underfoot and easy walking, but will be cut off at very high tides. Although there is a good stretch of road walking it is not at all busy, in fact pedestrians seem to take priority over any traffic!
Local Information: Refreshments available at the excellent Shoreside Café, which has stayed open for takeaways during lockdowns.
Exit carpark, turn left at the road to go towards the shore and then left through a gap in a flint wall opposite Shoreside café. Walk along this footpath keeping next to the water’s edge. You can stay on the upper path, or walk along the road at low tides. The path/road bends round to the right, and then turn right again along Shore Road to walk westward along the south side of the harbour with views across to Bosham village. There are obvious places where you can diverge from the road along the way. Note that at very low tides you can take a short cut by going across the causeway between the village and Shore Road.
When you reach the information board and the ‘end of speed limit’ road sign, keep going along the road for just over half a mile until the road bends sharp left into Smugglers Lane. Keep straight ahead along a footpath until you reach the beach with views across to Itchenor. (This is where you can catch the ferry to Itchenor during summer months.) Here turn right along a waymarked footpath along a really attractive stretch of beach with lovely views across to Chidham peninsula, until you eventually come back to the road. Retrace your route back to the car.
Pagham Harbour and Sidlesham
Distance: 7 miles to Sidlesham and Pagham
Starting point: Visitor Centre to Pagham Harbour off the B2145 between Sidlesham and Selsey. GR 856964. Map: OS Explorer 120.
Terrain: Flat, harbour walks.
Local Information: The Visitor Centre, just south of Sidlesham, has a car park and provides information on the history and wildlife of Pagham Harbour.
The Crab and Lobster, Sidlesham Quay: 01243 641233
Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve: 01243 641508
From the visitor centre go behind it to head north-east along the smooth track. After a gate turn left to Sidlesham Quay. Turn right and walk past the pub through the village and follow the road as it turns sharp left. After Rookery Farm turn right on a path towards a barn and over fields to a farm track. Turn left onto the track and Sidlesham Church is ahead on the right.
From the church return East along the farm track, passing the path which brought you here, now on your right. At the end of the farm track continue east over fields and streams. the spire of Pagham church is ahead. In over half a mile you reach Honer Farm. At cross paths here, turn right and south down to the nearby Pagham Harbour.
At the harbour, turn left on to the bank and walk towards Pagham. The church is at the end of Church Lane. After your visit, to return to the Visitor Centre, retrace your steps back along the harbour wall. Instead of turning up to Honer Farm, keep straight on and follow the harbour path as it curves west-south-west to Sidlesham Quay and the original track. At high tide you have to turn right to Halsey’s Farm. An information panel is at this turning. From the Quay retrace your steps to the Visitor Centre. Do not forget to turn right at the gate!
Note: Attached map also shows a short additional walk to Church Norton and back
Chichester Ship Canal
(approx. 4 miles, with a bus return journey)
The Chichester Ship Canal runs from the Basin, just South of Chichester Station, right out to Chichester Marina, about 4 miles. If you feel it’s too far to walk all the way back as well, there is a bus stop at the end of the road to the Marina to take you back into Chichester (Route 52/53, approx. every 30 minutes) .
In addition to the tranquil scenery, the bird life on the canal is abundant with coots, moorhens, ducks, swans and even a possible fleeting flash of a Kingfisher. There are a few seats on which to rest and admire the views. The Marina is interesting, with static boats moored as homes, and is bustling with sailing activities, not to mention the mesmerising lock gates, which always seem to be busy with yachts coming in and out of the marina.
There are several opportunities for refreshments. There is a pub (the Richmond) and the excellent Canal Cafe at the Basin with plenty of outdoor seating. In Hunston, if you walk off the canal bank and into the village (2-3 hundred yards) there is The Spotted Cow, a lovely country pub. At the end at the Marina is the Boat House Café.
A quite gentle walk on flat ground that takes about an hour return.
This walk lies northwest of Chichester, just north of the B2178.
There is a National Trust car park (GR SU824088) but it fills up quickly. The path goes from the carpark towards the hills of the South Downs, through open fields to the entrance to Kingley Vale. The easiest path leads straight ahead through the yew forest to a clearing where you can gaze up the steep slope to the top of Kingley Vale.
If you’re feeling VERY fit you can walk straight up the slope to access wonderful views over Chichester, the coastline between Bognor and Portsmouth, as well as the Isle of Wight. But for those who don’t fancy themselves as Sir Edmund Hillary, the top of Kingley Vale hill is accessible by passing through the gate into Kingley Vale and immediately taking the path on the left. This leads gently uphill and eventually to the Devil’s Jumps at the top – with the aforesaid views.
In the spring the woods on both sides of the road from the B2178 to West Stoke car park are FULL of bluebells. Definitely worth the detour (as M. Michelin would say!).