Micro Event: Beach Bums and Bird Watchers, Surf Dudes and Sea Dogs (First Occasion)

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Jul 04

5 people attending

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Distance: 23 km (14 miles); terrain: almost flat and on beach shingle, grass, dirt, gravel, sand and tarmac; total climb is just 120m.

Two classic slices of West Sussex seaside: East Wittering and Bracklesham are part-pensioners, part-surfers; West Wittering and Itchenor are part-seafarers, part-twitchers. Between all those places the shore and our route change from exposed coast to sheltered harbour, and from shingle to sand to mud, but we'll stop off on the sand of West Wittering beach for picnicking, sunbathing and swimming. After lunch we'll leave the shimmering sand, but the sparkling sea, teeming hedgerows, slurping mudflats and dazzling sky won't be an anticlimax. Still, one of the best beaches in the south is the chief draw, even if we'll have to walk past an expanse of seaside bungalows to get to it.

This is an micro-event version of a walk that was due to run on Saturday 11 July. It is now circular rather than linear, slightly shorter, does not require a bus journey and starts at Chichester Marina in Birdham rather than at Chichester Railway Station. West Wittering Beach is spacious, located in a rural area and is only open to pre-booked vehicular visitors. As a result social distancing can be maintained there.

The sights:

Birdham: Some pleasant houses, especially the Westlands Estate. Birdham Pool was a tidal mill pond but became one of the first public marinas in the country in 1946. Chichester Marina is the chief attraction: a big rectangular harbour with sleek yachts along pontoons, created in 1966. St James' Church is big and bulky C14 but harshly restored in 1882. 

Earnley: a sequestered hamlet just 500m from the sprawl of Bracklesham but with old farms and a C13 church.

Bracklesham and East Wittering: On Bracklesham Bay, East Wittering was described in 1935 as 'a ramshackle middle-class ville d'eau' and largely dates from that decade when seaside bungalows were set up, although one small street of thatched fishermen's cottages built of beach cobbles stretching to the the sea testifies to an earlier settlement. The beach is highly rated for surfers of all ability and beginners especially as it has a low beach gradient and no major obstacles.

West Wittering: An attractive and exclusive village with large thatched houses and villas set in large gardens. Cakeham Manor was once a palace of the bishops of Chichester, now an attractive group of medieval, Tudor and Georgian parts. The tall brick tower of the early C16 stands out amid the flat fields.

East Head and West Wittering Beach: 'One of the last surviving pieces of natural coastline in West Sussex. East Head is an example of the nationally rare and fragile, yet dynamic sand-dune habitat. Walk, play and sunbathe on the beach, which is considered one of the best in Sussex [it has Blue Flag status (see the website)].' (From the National Trust website)

Chichester Harbour AONB: 'Chichester Harbour is one of the few remaining undeveloped coastal areas in Southern England...Its wide expanses and intricate creeks are at the same time a major wildlife haven and among some of Britain's most popular boating waters. The massive stretch of tidal flats and saltings are of outstanding ecological significance.' (From Wikipedia)

West Itchenor: 'One short, nicely unpretentious street of cottages, mostly 18th century, running down to the water's edge.' (Ian Nairn, The Buildings of England: Sussex). Huge waterside properties all around. From 1744 to the early C19 warships where intermittently made there.


I love having dogs on my walks and this walk is suitable for them although there will be a few stiles and country lanes to walk along and busy roads to cross. Dogs are excluded from the main swimming beach at West Wittering but are allowed nearby. There are dog waste bins. Warm weather could be exhausting for dogs although we are close to water in which they could cool down the whole way. Any dog off its lead must be under control.

The route (please click on the link to see it):

Starting at Chichester Marina, we'll head south to Birdham where a walk on the pavement along a busy road and then a walk along a quiet lane will bring us to Earnley. A footpath will take us to the seafront promenade at Bracklesham Bay to East Wittering seafront and West Wittering beach. We will then walk round East Head Spit. The New Lipchis Way which runs alongside the harbour will take us to West Itchenor and Birdham where at Chichester Marina we'll conclude the walk. 

Micro Events – IMPORTANT: Please read the following before you sign up to this event:

  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are extremely mild, or who lives or is in a support bubble with someone showing symptoms, is asked not to attend. This is in line with the government’s coronavirus advice.
  • All are required to practice social distancing – staying 2m (not 1m) apart at all times, including the lunch stop.
  • Please join events within around one hour’s travel from your home, rather than travelling longer distances to get there.
  • Unfortunately, there won’t be any planned pub / café stops en route or at the end, and please don’t share sweets or snacks with others – we’re sorry!
  • Public transport use to the start point is discouraged, as this is a non-essential journey. No car sharing to the start point unfortunately either.
  • Please bring your own hand sanitising gel for your own use throughout the day. Use of face coverings is at your own choice.
  • Each person can only attend one OutdoorLads micro event a week. (Leaders to leave at least three days between events they lead.)
  • On walks, one person to hold open gates and allow everyone to walk through – so minimising surfaces that multiple people touch. 
  • Be aware that opportunities for toilet stops may be minimal if facilities are closed.
  • Please, please cancel at your earliest opportunity if you are unable to attend or are unwell, so that we can allow others to take up these valuable event spaces.
  • Much as it's difficult - no handshakes or hugs!

Micro Events Participation Statement

OutdoorLads draws your attention to the fact that travelling and being away from home increases the risk of receiving and transmitting Coronavirus, whilst it is present in the UK. You are likely to choose not to participate in OutdoorLads events whilst there is a risk of Coronavirus transmission. However, should you choose to participate in OutdoorLads events whilst the risk is present, you must be aware of and follow the law and government guidelines, both when travelling to and from events as well as when participating in events.

Please note that every person participating should be aware of (and accept) that those members perceived as ‘in charge’ or leading the event are not experts,  do not need to be experts, and are not regarded by OutdoorLads, or themselves as experts, but are amateurs with some experience in the event type and who are happy to impart their knowledge.  Any advice given should be considered with this in mind by the recipient.

By signing up to and attending an OutdoorLads micro event, you are confirming that you have read, understood and accept the content of this statement.

Please see our website for more information including an FAQ about our micro events.

(Picture credits: all image are licensed for use under CC-SA-BY2.0. Photographs by Paul CouselantIan Capper, Dave Spicer, Ian Capper, David Dixon, Simon Carey, Simon Carey, Rob Farrow, Simon Carey, David Dixon, Rob Farrow, N Chadwick, Mike Lis and Mike Lis.)

Wheat Field by Westland's Copse by Rob Farrow
Wheat Field by Westland's Copse by Rob Farrow


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