Length: 13.7 km/8.5 mi or 21.2 km/13.2 mi
Ascent/Descent: negligible or 140m
Net Walking Time: ca. 3 hours or 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 1 out of 10 or 3 out of 10
Take the 10.36 Southampton Central & Bognor Regis train from London Victoria (CJ 10.42, EC 10.53), arrives Southbourne 12.12.
Finishing in Emsworth: returns are 3 each per hour to Victoria and Waterloo. Buy an Emsworth return (you have to go back to Victoria, it is £29,60 at full price) or a Havant return (via any permitted route), this covers you for both options, and it is £33,90 at full price.
Finishing in Rowlands Castle: returns are hourly on xx.46. Buy a Havant return (via any permitted route).
This is a coastal walk along a peaceful and remote sea wall around Thorney Island, a peninsular in tidal Chichester Harbour, with an option to visit the sand dunes and beach of Pilsey Island. As this is a very short and flat walk, I am planning an extension to Rowlands Castle along the Sussex Border Path, initially through suburbia then commons and woods (see the route map here
for more detail).
The coastal path is part of the Sussex Border Path, and this section of it is maintained by the army - the lower half of Thorney Island is an army base. The coastal path is always open. Access is easy, but strictly regulated, at 2 remote controlled gates with CCTV (one on the east, one on the west of the island). You may have to give your name or show ID on the way in, on the path, or on the way out, on the other side of the island. In practise this isn't a problem.
The 2 highlights of the walk are both excellent picnic spots:
· the well tended West Thorney church, in a picturesque coastal position
· Pilsey Island, an RSPB reserve, and despite the name, a peninsular, connected to Thorney Island. It’s at the south east tip of Thorney Island, the mid-point of the walk. Its eastern side is salt marsh which is closed to the public (except for a landing stage for boats). The western side, with public access, has a sandy beach, backed by sand dunes, with a very large expanse of sand at low tide. You can walk out to the southern tip of the island, along the beach, or inland through the sand dunes along a car-wide path that leaves the main Thorney Island coast path.
The walk is mostly open, but along the southern 'coast', there are a couple of short sections when the path is away from the coast, or enclosed by tall vegetation.
Lunch: Picnic or The Traveller's Joy
(a Fuller’s pub near the start, 250m off route on the A 259, food 12.00-15.00).
Tea: A couple of pubs in Emsworth, a couple of pubs and cafes in Rowlands Castle.
, height profile, photos
and gpx/kml files