RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Bosham to Itchenor

SUS-140320-112344001
SUS-140320-112344001

This walk of 7.4 miles (12km) takes you around some of the prettiest sea shores in the land, with masses of boats and birds to look at as you go.

I love this walk and have made it dozens of times over the past 50 years and it has not changed much in that time.

Park in Bosham pay car park very near the quay.

Beware parking on the shore as you may get caught out by the tide.

The muds are winter home to brent geese, mallard and mute swans.

Turn left along the road which is submerged at high tides or use the higher path past the cottages.

This takes you past the old coastguard cottages where turn right, following the shore westward.

There are seats along the way where you can enjoy the view of Holy Trinity church with its small spire, a favourite subject of artists.

In foreground are the beds of blue-grey sea purslane and also sea rye grass.

Bladder-wrack seaweed grows on the wet muds.

There is a lovely tang of salt on the air.

Follow the road south for a mile until sharp left bend, with our walk straight ahead down Smugglers’ Lane to the saltings.

Here is another seat, with tree mallows nearby.

Chichester channel stretches westward into the far distance with Cobnor Point across the water.

At high tide you can summon the Itchenor ferry service.

Have coin money ready, a few pounds.

At low tide there is a hard gravel path across the mudflats towards Itchenor when the ferry will be on lookout for the crossing.

Safely over the water, you can now enjoy the old mainly 18th-century village street southward to St Nicholas church, opposite which you turn right, westward through the fields back to the shore.

You pass Itchenor house on your left. It was built in 1787 for the 3rd Duke of Richmond as a yachting lodge and stables.

After one km. you reach the shoreline, with its area of salt marsh plants growing on the shingle spit at Horse Pond.

Turn right, passing through the small oak woodland with butchers broom growing beneath the trees.

This was a lovers’ walk of old, from the village.

The path comes back to Itchenor hard, where you can again catch the ferry back to Furzefield creek.

The way back to Bosham is around the shoreline to the left provided the tide lets you go that way, so a look at the tide table before you set out is useful.

You will walk over some of the red clay and yellow clay which are relics of Ice Age erosion, and pass an old boulder of the time.

Bosham channel is used by brents, redshank and curlews in winter and 
non- breeding ducks and waders in summer.

You might even see a shelduck or two as these black and white ducks have their nests down rabbit holes in the banks.

As you round the corner, you begin to see the downs far ahead at Kingley Vale.

This path joins the road again for return to Bosham, and a snack in Bosham Walk craft shop after all that bracing sea air.