352. Fishbourne to Emsworth

I decided that I would do another single day’s walk which would involve a return journey back to Shropshire on the same day. The forecast was for high temperatures across most of the UK. I’m not a big fan of walking in the heat, because I like to cover the miles which makes walking in temperatures of 30 deg centigrade very tiring. To get most of the walk over by midday I got up at the ridiculously early time of 02:00 and set off from my home. At this time of the day I made excellent progress down to West Sussex. I soon realised that I would have to wait for over one hour for the bus to take me to the start of the walk at Fishbourne, just on the edge of Chichester. Waiting for a bus for that long would be a waste of time, so I drove to Fishbourne and parked up.

I set off walking at 05:15, the sun had yet to rise and it was a beautiful and cool morning. Today’s walk would be around 3 small peninsulas that jut out into Chichester Harbour. I passed around Fishbourne Mill pond and headed through the tall reeds along the Fishbourne Channel. At this time of the morning I saw many Roe Deer who just stared at me ready to bolt should I approach them. Near Hook Farm, the pubic footpath turned inland and ultimately led onto a minor roads which I walked along without any vehicles disturbing the beautiful still morning air. At 05:30 the sun was up and I could already feel the heat. I  headed along the ferry lane, which led down to the Chichester Channel here I looked across to the village of West Itchenor where I was last Saturday. There is a ferry service, for those that want it, across the channel. I continued up the western shore of the Bosham Peninsula, with the Bosham Channel on my left.

Early morning at Fishbourne Mill Pond
Heading through tall reeds alongside the Fishbourne Channel
One of the many Roe deer I saw at this time of the morning
At the ferry point looking across the Fishbourne Channel to West Itchenor, where the ferry runs to

The views that were obscured during my last two visits to the area had now opened up and I could see across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the approaching Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. I made my way up the Bosham Channel towards the village of Bosham. The village was still very much asleep as I passed by the charming and attractive Anchor Bleu pub. It would be a fair few hours before it would be opening its doors to customers. As I rounded the head of the Bosham Channel, I joined the A259 for half a mile along a wide footpath.

Looking westwards across the Bosham Channel to the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Heading along the Bosham channel
The village of Bosham across a small creek
I noticed many cottages near the quay with these anti-flood measures across their front doors
The Anchor Bleu at Bosham
Holy Trinity Church Bosham
Rounding the Bosham Channel and heading south down the Chidham peninsula

I was now heading down my second peninsula, the Chidham peninsula. I now met more people out and about, walking their dogs or jogging. I rounded the tip of this peninsula at Cobnor at the confluence of the Chichester, Bosham and Thorney Channels. I headed northwards again following the Thorney Channel towards Prinsted. I had originally planned to park at Prinsted that morning and get the bus to Fishbourne but my early arrival in the area meant I had given myself 1.25 extra  hours of walking in the early morning.

At the confluence of the Chichester, Bosham and Thorney Channels looking across to West Itchenor
A Black-headed Gull at Cobnor Point
Looking across East Head and Hayling Island to the Solent and the Isle of Wight
At the top of the Thorney Channel at Prinsted. I asked the approaching if it was possible to follow this path to the opposing bank, but it was too deep at one point

As I rounded the top of Thorney Channel it had become very hot and I was now feeling the effects of 6 hours of being out in the sun.
Although I always cover up my skin and apply SPF 50, my body would absorb a fair amount of heat, so to try and cool myself down I have used in the past a UV parasol. Its like a small umbrella, although it would be useless in the rain. The top of the parasol has a reflective coating that reflects both UVA & UVB rays. Those UV rays that reflect off the ground up at me are absorbed by the black underside of the parasol. That’s the theory anyway!

Thorney Island was my final peninsula of the day and was different in that it is actually an island that is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel called The Great Deep, although it does not look that great! A small footbridge pans the Great Deep on its east and west sides. At the end of the footbridge is a rather formidable looking security gate with high razor wired fences, security cameras and a plethora of warning signs. At low tide it would be very easy to walk around this obstruction, but I suspect would attract a great amount of unwanted attention from the guardhouse. Thorney Island used to be a RAF base and  although the airfield is still there it is disused. The army now have barracks on the Island and that’s the reason for the security. A footpath, the Sussex Border Path, follows the shoreline around the island and all walkers are required to stick to it. I passed the Thorney Island sailing club pier at West Thorney and also the base for the Army Inshore Sail training centre.

I rounded the tip of Thorney Island at Longmere Point and headed westwards to Marker Point which provided a great view up and down the Emsworth Channel and across to Hayling Island. I passed a number of walkers and sun bathers as I now headed northwards along the Border path to my final destination – Emsworth, which sits on the Sussex/Hampshire border. A good day’s walk, but a tiring one, given the travel requirements and the heat!

Heading through a boatyard making my way down the Thorney Island peninsula
The security gate at the Great Deep
The Great Deep flowing into Thorney Channel
The spit at East Head, where I was a few weeks back
Damaged sea wall at Longmere Point
Cannot be sure if this was Giant Hogweed or not. It was about 8 – 9 ft tall and a purple splodge on the stem and the right type of leaf, I gave it a wide berth anyway
At Marker Point looking across the Emsworth Channel to Hayling Island
Passing through the western security gate
Heading towards Emsworth

Distance today = 21 miles
Total distance = 6,529 miles



4 thoughts on “352. Fishbourne to Emsworth”

  1. Glad to see you include Thorney Island too, a very interesting island. It is permitted to divert off the path to the church, too. The reason for the flood barriers in Bosham, is that it does flood at high tides. It’s not that uncommon for cars to get flooded by the sea water, who ignore the warning signs (and double yellow lines). I really enjoyed the section around Chichester Harbour despite the number of inlets and lack of beaches.


  2. I found that an interesting walk. You covered a lot of ground for a hot day! I recall stopping off at a marina before Thorney Island for a coffee and bacon roll, so it was presumably a lot colder. On the island there was a track where armed forces personnel were being tested on driving large vehicles. There were also a lot of swans nesting in the Great Deep as I left the island. You have a decision to make for the next leg. I took the Hayling Island route. There is a nice trail along the old railway track.


    1. Hi Tony, like all my routes I will be following the coastline as best I can which means doing a circular route around Hayling Island, then around Langstone and Portsmouth Harbours. No ferries for me I am afraid.


  3. Well done for achieving such a good walk in this heat. As Jon has already said, Bosham floods at each high tide. I have friends with a house there, and you have to check the tides to decide which road to use to get to their driveway.


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