I have recently finished walking the English coast. This blog is meant as a help/guide for someone doing the same thing.I hope to complete all the posts within the next 6 months. Go to the archive of past months and years to access all previous posts. Composite, rather amateurish photos are on the early walks as I had not acquired a digital camera. Any corrections of errors/ additional facts gratefully received. Enjoy the coast!
Monday, 18 March 2013
Walk 92 Pagham to Selsey
to Selsey (West Sussex)
(Second leg of
English coastal walk – Broadstairs to Lands End)
Map: L/R 197
Distance: 10 miles or 16 km approx.
Terrain: Paths and pavement
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: 51 bus from Selsey to Chichester, 60/700
Pagham to Chichester
Start at Pagham and take the path that skirts around the
edge of Pagham Harbour to Church Norton. This is a pleasant, peaceful walk with
Pagham Harbour is 1000 acres of natural saltmarsh, lagoon and
tidal mudflat. It is now a significant nature reserve with 200 species of
birds, 340 varieties of flowering plants and even 13 species of woodlice. There
was a harbour here from 1345 until 1875 but it became silted up and much land
was reclaimed. However, in 1910 a combination of high tide and heavy rain
punctured the sea wall and the water spilled back in.
To the south of Sidlesham there is walk along the main road
before returning to the path. Look out for the old thatched cottage and the
At Church Norton is St Wilfred’s Chapel, it is still used
and was open to visitors when I went. The main church which gave the settlement
part of its name was moved to Selsey in 1865. A large graveyard provides
evidence of a much larger population in the past.
On the approach to Selsey some conversions of old railway
carriages are easy to spot. Look out for the plaque to Eric Coates who was
inspired by the view back to Bognor Regis and composed The Sleepy Lagoon in
1930; this became the signature tune for the BBC radio programme Desert Island
The walk continues along the promenade to Selsey Bill, this
low lying headland is the most southern point of Sussex and has eroded more in
the last century than any other part of the UK. The famous Mulberry Harbours were
assembled off Selsey. Sections of concrete were assembled, towed to the Normandy
Beaches and used in the D Day landings of 1944.
Walk past the lifeboat station and pier to the beach at West
Selsey. Here there are some strange looking conical stone structures on the
beach – I have not been able to find out what these were/are for.
Selsey was the centre for a thriving mousetrap industry in
Victorian times. They were taken by cart to Chichester and exported to
countries around the globe – evidently they never wore out! A famous resident
in the distant past was St Wilfred the patron saint of Sussex and one time
Bishop of Northumbria. He was shipwrecked here in the 7th century
and returned a few years later to found a monastery, which, because of the sea
encroaching, was later moved to Winchester. A more recent resident of Selsey
was the astronomer Patrick Moore.
Snaps show: two views of Pagham Harbour; St Wilfred's Chapel; Selsey Bill.