From Pasture to the Harbour, and High Terrain to the Plain

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Feb 24

15 people attending

5 places left

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Distance is EITHER 16.5 km (10 miles) OR 22 km (13.5 miles); total ascent is 102 m; terrain is mostly flat apart from a small ascent and descent; surfaces are dirt, grass, gravel and tarmac.

Spending time in 'green space' (a garden, a park, a landscape) is proven to have mental health benefits, but being in 'blue space' (a lake, a river, a seascape) is even more effective. On this inland but also coastal walk, blue and green space meet: the small hills of the edge of South Downs National Park settle into the flat, fertile fields of the Sussex Plain before they in turn dissolve into the reedbeds, saltmarshes and creeks of Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In addition, the villages we'll see are among the prettiest around. Seaward Bosham is well-known, but landward Funtington, the Ashlings and West Stoke might be new to you.

The sights:

West Stoke: 'Surprisingly remote, at the exact point where the Downs meet the plain: the view N is thick woods and bare hillside; the view S is flat fields and copses…Church of Saint Andrew simple aisleless C11 nave including fragments of Roman brick...The stumpy south tower includes the porch: low with a pyramidal top; wall painting above the chancel arch remains of a fine crucifixion scene c.1190 to 1220’ (The Buildings of England, Sussex: West by Williamson, Hudson, Musson and Nairn.)

West Ashling: 'Has two especially good timber framed thatched cottages among a lot of pretty ones...The main road curves around a large pond (with former mill, three-storeyed, red brick, of 1825)'.  (The Buildings of England, Sussex: West by Williamson et al.)

Funtington: 'Flint and brick cottages and stuccoed houses NW of Chichester where the Downs slide into the Sussex plain'. (The Buildings of England, Sussex: West by Williamson et al.)

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). 

Bosham: 'Deservedly, the best-known village around Chichester Harbour: a close-packed huddle of cottages at the waterside, as intricate as a Cornish village, but built to a softer Sussex colour scheme' (Ian Nairn). Holy Trinity Church is Saxon, but most is C12 and C13. A daughter of King Cnut is buried in the church, and Harold Godwinson prayed there before setting sail to offer allegiance to Duke William of Normandy in 1064 and thus it features on the Bayeux Tapestry as BOSHAM: ECCLESIA. Brook House is 1743, grade II-listed.


I love having dogs on my walks and this walk is very suitable for them with few stiles, busy roads and fields with livestock. Plus, they can splash in the sea at Bosham and get coated in stinky harbour mud! At some points, the Harbour Conservancy Council insist upon dogs going on leads in order to protect shore-nesting and feeding birds. Any dog off the lead must be under control.

The route (click the link to see it):

The full walk is 22 km (13.5 miles) long, but folk may want to do a shortened 16.5 km (10 miles) version. 

Leaving the station and heading north along the B2146, we'll go over the A27, then go east along Clay Lane, then north again up Mouthey's Lane than Lye Lane to West Stoke. We'll then turn west along Downs Lane to Funtington for lunch at the pub. We'll then walk southeast down Watery Lane to West Ashling. We'll then walk southwest along Mill Road and West Ashling Road, before turning south along Newells Lane which will take us over the A27 to the A259 just outside Bosham. Footpaths heading south along the harbour will bring us to Bosham where we'll explore the village. We'll do a loop around the harbour using Shore Road, which is where memners not wantiong to do teh full walk are welcome to leave us. Remaining participants will then do another loop around the Bosham Peninsula using Lower Hone Lane, Smugglers Lane and Hoe Lane. Tarlors Lane, heading North, will take us back to the village where a walk north along Delling Lane will take us back to the station.

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(Photo credits: On Chichester Harbour. At low tide a causeway opens up across the inlet: Photo © diamond geezer (cc-by-nc-nd/2.0); Pond at West Ashling: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); St Andrew's Church West Stoke: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); Oak on Downs Road: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0);  Conifers by Downs Road: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); Farmland North of East Ashling: Photo © Chris Gunns (cc-by-sa/2.0); Lane called Woodend: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); The Fox and Hounds, Funtington: Photo © Robin Webster (cc-by-sa/2.0); Mill pond with the former West Ashling Mill: Photo © Dave Spicer (cc-by-sa/2.0); Bosham: Photo © diamond geezer (cc-by-nc-nd/2.0); Bench overlooking Bosham Channel: Photo © Des Blenkinsopp (cc-by-sa/2.0); Houses in Chidham Lane: Photo © Basher Eyre (cc-by-sa/2.0); Houses at Bosham: Photo © David Martin (cc-by-sa/2.0); Shore Road, Bosham: Photo © Oliver Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0). All images are copyrighted but are here credited to their copyright holders and are licensed for reuse under either Creative Commons CC-BY-SA/2.0 or Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND/2.0))