12.8 miles (20.6 km) No ascent.
|Toughness||2 out of 10|
|OS Maps||Explorer Map OL8 (was 120)|
This is an easy walk along the final section of the New Lipchis Way. It starts in the historic cathedral town of Chichester and heads south, inland at first along a quiet canal, then a disused section of canal teaming with wildlife, then via the shoreline of Chichester's large tidal harbour to West Wittering's wide sandy beach and East Head - a very pretty sand spit at the harbour entrance. Return to Chichester is by frequent bus.
The New Lipchis Way runs from Liphook ("Lip") to Chichester ("chis") and is waymarked on OS maps. This is its final section. It has been adopted by Chichester Council, and is well waymarked.
The walk starts by Chichester's station. North of the station is the Cathedral and pedestrianised historic centre. Do take time to wander around it at the start or end of the walk. The route heads south (away from the old town), following the Chichester Ship canal.
Soon the canal becomes unnavigable to boats (its was poorly built), and this section is quiet and teaming with wildlife with many nesting birds in the Spring
After 5km (3 miles), you continue to follow the canal, but along a tarmac road to pass through a large marina (for 1km) to reach the harbour's edge. The path detours inland (for 2km), passing some spectacular houses (i.e. no harbour views) before rejoining the coast for the remainder of the walk. This is the least interesting section of the walk.
The rest of the walk follows the harbour's picturesque shoreline to West Wittering. Lunch is at a popular harbour-side pub, The Ship Inn, in West Itchenor. It's right by a slipway, and it's interesting to watch boats being launched and recovered. Harbour tour boats leave from a small jetty near by. A good spot for a picnic lunch.
After lunch, continue along the partially shaded shoreline (many excellent picnic spots), until you come to West Wittering's very busy wide sandy beach and the highlight of the walk - East Head - a sand dune spit that curls out across the entrance to Chichester Harbour.
After a loop of the spit, walk along the sea facing, and very popular in the summer, part of the beach, then head inland to West Wittering village for a frequent (2 to 4 per hour) 20 minute bus ride back to Chichester. There is the Old House at Home pub to wait in.
Reverse the Walk: this may make sense especially if the tide is low in the morning, as you get to experience more of the sandy beaches. Also brings into play a couple of tea stops en route (see below).
Short Walk: if you have a car, the second half of the walk, the harbour side part from West Itchenor onwards, and especially East Head spit itself, is by far the best part of the walk.
Trains from London Victoria to Chichester take 1 hour 30 mins. 2 trains an hour.
There are about 4 buses an hour, even in winter, back from West Wittering (#52 or #53, take whichever comes first in either direction, stop is by The Old House at Home pub) to Chichester bus station. £3.60 single. (In 2017, with a £2 after 7pm offer)
On sunny summer weekend evenings, and daily during school holidays, buses can be busy, or even full, and it can take longer than the usual 20 mins due to traffic leaving West Wittering beach.
By Car: there is an expensive car park at West Wittering beach, although you can usually park in the village for free. Might be easiest to park in Donnington or Hunston villages near the start.
The Ship Inn, West Itchenor (01243 512 284). Great location. Busy due to the slipway (yet very efficient). Real ales. Food orientated. Mixed reviews.
In West Wittering: The Old House at Home pub. Very nice, but closed as of Dec-17
Pagham Harbour and Church Norton
Notes for drivers
Pagham Harbour, on the east side of the 'peninsular' is recommended - park at the harbour entrance, either north or south (they are a very long drive apart).
RSPB Medmerry / Bracklesham Bay
Behind a new man-made breach in the shingle sea wall is a large tidal wetland area managed by the RSPB. There will be several km of footpaths. It is not clear if it's open yet. See RSPB Bracklesham Bay or RSPB Medmerry
It's not possible to walk along the 'bottom' of the peninsular, from West Wittering along the coast to Selsey Bill, as the coast has been breached by a new tidal bird reserve.
You can do the first part of the walk, which would be much better at low tide when you can walk on the beach - at high tide there's a long shingle back to walk on. After West Wittering is East Wittering, which is more down market than West Wittering, it has a small Tesco, pubs and chippies. After a caravan park is a longer but quiet stretch of coast until you reach the new nature reserve.
Another nice short walk would be from Selsey Bill to Pagham Harbour and Church Norton, and then head inland to catch the bus back on the B2145 Chichester to Selsey road.
|Version||Revised Dec 2017|
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Out (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline SE (bus times): 0871 200 2233 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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