Church Norton near Chichester
Church Norton beach is six miles south of Chichester in the Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve.
Chichester can be reached via the A29 from London, or the A27 from along the coast. From the A27 (Chichester Bypass) take the B2145 signposted for Selsey. One and three quarter miles after Sidlesham (though it's easy to go through Sidlesham without realising it) turn left for Church Norton. Three quarters of a mile down the narrow lane - go *all* the way down it (don't worry you wont end up in someone's garden!) At the very end is a small free car park - note the side next to the church is for churchgoers only - 1 hour.
Walk down the track beside the Norman earthwork and you will find yourself on the edge of Pagham Nature Reserve .Walk along the edge of the harbour high tide mark to your right - all the way to the main beach.. The gravel path will then deliver you roughly to the middle of the beach. Turn left along the beach and the [undefined] naturist areas starts, say, after about 100 yards or two groynes. All being well, you are now on the sea side of the bank, with some stunning views across the bay to Bognor Regis and Littlehampton
When you come to leave the beach you'll discover that the exit/entry point is unmarked and easy to walk straight past. But if you're roughly in the right place you'll see a very small yellow sign at the back of the flat area behind the beach - head for that. But make a mental note when you arrive!
The south east facing beach is a huge shingle bank, backed by a large flat shingle area upon which rare birds nest. At low tide an area of flat muddy sand is exposed. On the top of the stony bank t there are loads and loads of shells - almost more in number than the stones. Its a bit exposed so expect a slight breeze even on a still day. The beach is nearly a mile and a half long and perhaps because the car park is so small it does not get crowded.
During 2010 there were reports of "no naturism" signs being displayed in and around the car park area (see comments below). The reason for these signs and their status is unclear.
Probably not a good place to swim - the harbour has a fairly savage tidal inflow / outflow and you could be very easily be swept away. Excellent bird watching opportunities - at some times of the year - June for example - some of the beach is roped off as its a bird breeding area.
"A really nice stop off if you are in the area - which is what I would suggest that you use it for."
"just across the harbour mouth at Pagham Spit is a much better naturist beach. It's got a large free car park and the part used by [naturists] is right in front.."you.
None on the beach.
Selected Visitor Comments
Visited this beach today for the first time today. Great for first time nudists as it's so quiet. A few dog walkers and fishermen walked by and one woman even said hello, not phased at all by me being nude. It was a bit breezy, but once i was laid down it was hardly noticable. Would recommend for sun-worshippers and first time nudists.
My wife and I have visited this beach on and off for a couple of years now and found it near perfect. However, during the day yesterday (26/June/2010) signs appeared at the car park and around the beach announcing that this beach is not a 'Nudist beach'. One of the wardens from the nearby nature reserve was even wandering around asking those who chose to sunbath without swimming costumes to cover up. A real shame.
We went to this beach 27th June and saw the sign at the car park but by the time we got back to the car park it had gone
These, (photo copies) of no nude sunbathers [signs] are trying to scare us naturists off the beach... there is no activity apart from good old naturism, enjoy.
I was there at about 5am this morning and stripped off, mainly because I saw the sign stating it was NOT a nudist beach. It's so quiet there, I really cannot see a problem with sunbathing, or walking around, naked. I propose to go there again tomorrow morning and do the same thing
We haven't been down at all this year, but won't be put off by silly notices when we do.. [a] thought that occurs is that the activities of a regular pest on the beach may have triggered the "No Nudity" notices. The individual I mean patrols the beach flashing at single men and couples quite indiscriminately... If he appears my wife and I usually give up and go home!
The naturist area here has always been recognised as the area to the north of the access from the carpark, really starting at the point where the bird reserve widens to the top of the shallow shingle cliff. Well behaved naturists in this area have been tolerated since the 1950's at least! Let's keep it that way!
Trip Report - April 2005
"A wonderful beach to spend the day on - clear water, not crowded just beautiful. I will be going again this year when warmer weather arrives."
Trip Report - January 2005
" I have used this beach on many occasions and have never had a problem in walking nude from where I have been sitting to the sea to swim. Providing you keep an eye open for the occasional bird watcher. I have also walked to the spit and back and sometimes met others doing the same."
Trip Report by MikeR July 2002
I visited early on a warm Friday afternoon. The tide was out and the beach was long and wide. The first naturist, a lone male, was plumb in the middle of the beach exactly at the point where the path reaches the beach.
I turned left and walked right to the north end, to the entrance to Pagham Harbour - just an inlet, no boats or buildings. En route I passed the lone male mentioned above; a textile couple in director's chairs; a couple walking and carrying fishing rods; a lone male textile; then four male naturists, spaced just about evenly along an otherwise empty half mile of beach and each beside his own groyne; and at the very end of the beach a young textile couple surrounded by fortress-like windbreaks.
I then trekked the mile and a half to the other extreme end of the beach. On the southern half I saw only one textile male and a textile couple who were strolling way out on the sand flats.
Naturism seems to be quite OK here. If all you want is a place to sunbathe nude, this will do nicely. If you want somewhere where you can wander round, go paddling or whatever, as at Studland or Fairlight, I'm not so sure. I didn't feel confident enough to walk along naked. I'd be interested in people's views and experiences. Personally, being more a wanderer than a static sunbather, I'd rate this beach 5 out of 10.
There was no sign of any stupid notices this year, which is as it should be.
This beach is very uncrowded due to the smallness of the car park, there is only space for about ten or fifteen cars so if contemplating a trip here it is advisable to arrive early to get a space. You can park back up the access road if you don't mind the extra walk.
The beach is of pebble, there is no sand to mention even when the tide is out as any that there is is full of sharp shells.