Chidham Coast Walk

This month’s trek was completed just after the easing of lockdown, it is a walk I have done many times and is a peaceful coastal walk of 9km (6 miles) around the headland of Chidham and Cobnor. Careful planning of this walk is required by checking the tide times beforehand, this peninsula of land cannot be walked around at high tide as the most southerly part of the path near Cobnor Point floods at high tide and is therefore impassable.

The walk starts at the small Cobnor Amenity car park just south of the village of Chidham and is a circular trek taking in both the village and the coast, that also incorporates part of the ‘London’s Lost Route to the Sea’ long distance path too. 

From the car park head towards the village of Chidham on the well-kept path through the fields past Chidmere Pond, a private lake in the grounds of Chidmere Farm. The pond cannot be seen, as it is hidden behind some tall hedging, however I believe the gardens and lake are stunning and have been open to the public in the past as part of the National Open Gardens day. At the village you can either go past St Mary’s church which was built c.1210 and then through fields or you can take the road through the quant village past the 18th Century pub, I prefer the quieter field route.

Approximately 300m to the north of the village, on the left, is the footpath that leads to the western shore of the peninsula, on reaching the raised path at the shoreline head south and keep to the coastline. Just past Chidham point the route will be on the stony shore as there has been extensive erosion of the sea wall, which has had many attempted repairs on it, but the forces of nature have taken their toll and broken a lot of the concrete repairs up. A new path further inland has been created as an easier route that cuts across the fields leading to the southern edge of the peninsula, however keeping to the shoreline will ensure you get great views across the wide mudflats of Nutbourne Marshes. A Site of Special Scientific Interest that covers 956 acres of the harbour, the marshes are not accessible but can be viewed from the path, a very tranquil spot where the sounds of the many feeding wildfowl can be heard.

Continue further along the shore to the tip of the peninsula where a line of ancient oaks cling to the bank, all twisted and battered by the salty winds, sea waves, and sun. It’s amazing how they have adapted themselves to such a harsh environment. A great spot for a break sitting in the shade of these trees that overlook Pilsey Sand and East Head Spit with many pleasure yachts passing through the busy Chichester Channel. There is a hide at this point which enables some additional birdwatching and has some local information which is worth stopping to read.

A further short walk on the pebbly shore past Cobnor Point leads to some steps up to a purpose made accessible path to Cobnor Activity Trust, a centre that has been delivering outdoor activities for youths since the mid 50’s. From this part of the path you have great views up the Chichester Channel and across to Itchenor. The footpath is well signposted and easy to follow past the activity centre, be sure to take a look at the old Thames barge ‘Pride of Sheppey’ that has been moored here since 1963, then head up the eastern side of the peninsula on a high raised bank, it is very evident that this side is more protected from natures elements and therefore has much less erosion. Just before leaving the shoreline you can look across to the far side of Bosham Channel to see the pretty waterside village of Bosham itself, with the houses seemingly all clustered around the village church. A short path inland takes you back to the car park to complete the walk.

Further details of route can be found at:

https://osmaps.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/route/5227499/Chidham-Coastal-Walk

Nutbourne to Bosham

3rd August 2015

Nutbourne to Bosham – 13.6km (8.5 miles)

Today i am joined by my lovely wife Susan and Cookie, we parked one car at Bosham and the other at Nutbourne, so it was going to be easier on getting to and from the trek. On leaving the car at Nutbourne we walked down the short footpath to the harbour and picked up from where i left off on the previous leg. The weather today was overcast with the threat of rain all day. We would be walking today around the Chidham Peninsula to Bosham.

The start of the walk was on a well made up path that was very easy underfoot that started to take us around the western edge of the Nutbourne Channel. A couple of fisherman that had not caught anything were on this stretch too, one was quite chatty and it was great to hear about his fishing and catching flounders from the harbour, he also talked about the resident seal in the harbour that had had an impact on his fishing.

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The path further forward from here was very eroded and quite overgrown with long grass, which made the easy walking quite a bit more difficult, there was an alternative route which was easier but would have cut quite a bit of the coast out.

The tide had been coming in as we walked along the shores of Chidham Peninsula, which as we soon found out, this was not to be a good thing. As we approached the south western point of the headland we met with some woods that went right to the high tide level which meant that our route around the coast was now thwarted, we had to head inland along the edges of the fields, which was not a recognised route, fortunately though we found a way through and came back out on the shoreline at Cobnor Point. This we also found out was not a short cut as we had to follow the edge of the fields. At Cobnor Point we climbed a few steps back up to a higher path. This path was made as an accessible path for people staying at Cobnor Activities Centre and this wide path led us to the centre.

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Cobnor Activities centre is made up of two organisations that provide a residential camp site and dorms for young people to take part in outdoor and sailing activities, we saw many youngsters kayaking and trying to cross the water on rotating poles, certainly looked good fun.

The walk from Cobnor was very scenic with views across to Itchenor and Bosham, of which i would be covering on the next leg. This part was also very tranquil and all that could be heard was the lapping of the waves on the shore, the seabirds and Susan saying that ‘Map my Walk’ was saying that we had covered nine kilometres and that i said it was a ten kilometre walk yet Bosham was the other side of the channel, so i turned the sound down so that she wouldn’t know when we had reached the 10k mark, in case she refused to go any further………lol.

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The path continued taking us through Chidham and up to the main road A259 where we had to walk a short stretch before dropping back down to Bosham. It was raining now and had to resort to getting the waterproofs out.

Our day was to finish at Bosham which is a very typical harbour town that has a small art and craft centre, which is a cornucopia of different shops selling all sorts of very good art from sculptures to paintings. The quayside at Bosham has a road that floods at every high tide a cafe and a pub with great views across the harbour.

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