350. Littlehampton to Selsey

On arriving at my accommodation, a pub in the village of Findon, I noticed a range of beers on tap which I had never heard of before, so after dumping my bags in the room I popped downstairs for a quick pint. The bar was empty so no covid-catching worries. This was the first time I had been in a pub since 2019 and the pint of Harvey’s Sussex Best went down a treat!

I made a very early start the following morning, leaving the accommodation at 04:15, as it was almost 30 miles to drive to the end of my walk in Selsey. There was thick fog which would be with me for most of the days walk. I intended to use the large car park at East Beach, at £1.70 for the day it was a fee I didn’t mind paying. Unfortunately, the barriers were down and it seemed the car park was not open until 08:00, but I managed to find free roadside parking close to the car park and was able to catch the 05:22 #51 bus into Chichester. I did not have to wait long for a #700 bus on towards Littlehampton.

I got off the bus at the railway station and promptly got a cup of coffee and walked the short distance to the footbridge over the River Arun. Here I sipped  my coffee while looking  down the River Arun on a very foggy morning. I followed the Arun on its western bank for a short distance cutting across a golf course towards the coast.  I followed a compacted shingle path of sorts before emerging onto the promenade leading into Bognor. I passed the Butlins holiday camp with its characteristic big-top tents that I had seen years ago in Minehead. The pier at Bognor was a bit underwhelming after passing Eastbourne’s and Brighton’s piers, although it had been shortened after fires ravaged the buildings in the past.

The footbridge over the River Arun at Littlehampton
An extremely foggy and murky morning looking down The Arun
Back on the shoreline with limited views
Breakwater sea defences at Middleton-on-Sea

It did not take long to walk along Bognor’s promenade and I soon had to get down on the beach to avoid the loose shingle. I continued along the foreshore until I needed to head for Pagham. Pagham Harbour is not really a harbour but a large tidal inlet that is a large Nature Reserve and RSPB site. There is a good footpath all the way around the periphery of the harbour and I met many bird-watchers with mega-zoom lenses attempting to get that perfect shot. I passed through the small village of Sidlesham Quay. After crossing a sluice gate I now head down the sea bank on the far side of the Harbour. As I approach close-by Church Norton I meet other walkers who had used the small nearby car park. I also came upon a portable gazebo sort-of-tent with a small group of RSPB volunteers trying to get passers-by to sign up to a subscription for the RSPB. The shade offered by the tent was much needed as over the last hour most of the fog had burnt away leaving a very hot sun to beat down on those out and about.

Heading along the sea front into Bognor Regis
The distinctive big-tops of Butlins
The shortened pier at Bognor
Looking back towards Bognor
Heading towards Pagham along the shoreline – easy walking
At Pagham Harbour
Looking out on Pagham Harbour from Pagham Wall
The Old Malt House at Sidlesham Quay, I just love those wavy lines in the roof tiles.
Getting some shade under an Oak tree at Pagham Harbour
I think this is a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull

It was not long before I emerged from a rough track serving the small houses and chalets below the shingle beach onto the sea front at Selsey. At this spot I read a Blue Plaque informing me that this was view from the spot that inspired the musician Eric Coates to compose the small light orchestral piece “By the sleepy lagoon” back in 1930. It was certainly “sleepy” today although most of the haze remained and it was difficult to make out Bognor. The tune was used as the main theme for the successful radio programme Desert Island Discs, first produced in 1942 and still going strong. Its a piece of very relaxing music that harks back to a time when life was not so hectic.

Blue plaque dedicated to Eric Coates at Selsey East Beach
The view that inspired the composition – unfortunately still quite hazy
Heading along the sea front into Selsey

Ten minutes later I was back at the car. The less said about the drive back  home the better! I always advise others not to drive up and down motorways on a Friday afternoon, I should have heeded my own advice as the volume of traffic on the roads meant a lengthy delay in getting home.

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance = 6,488 miles




One thought on “350. Littlehampton to Selsey”

  1. Quite a varied walk. I thought Sidlesham Quay was very pretty and poor old Bognor Regis Pier less so! You have some lovely stretches ahead.


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