RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Nutbourne Marshes

This is a lovely stroll by the sea and through farmland fields and gardens.

Distance 2.3 miles (3.5 kms) with end-of-lane parking at southern tip of Prinsted SU766051, below A259.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy information board shows shelduck, brent goose, redshank, oystercatcher and curlew and all these you will see on the mudflats unless the tide is high.

The walk turns left (east) along the seawall path and is a wonderful bird-watching platform.

Last week I heard many a haunting curlew call and song as these moorland birds settled in after travelling back from Norway. You should also see bartailed godwits which have long, straight beaks. The first brent geese were in last week and hundreds more will join them soon.

If you go much later in winter you will see avocets, goldeneye ducks and merganser ducks, wigeon, teal and pintails. A little later there will also be big flocks of dunlin which creep along the tidal edge like white mice.

Seawall plants include valerian, wild carrot, mallow, and then masses of bristly oxtongue with its bright yellow flowers.

There are several seats along the seawall where you can enjoy the vast southward scene of the seaward marsh with its green algal meadows of enteromorpha and nearby growths of bladderwrack seaweed. Both are eaten by brent geese.

Southeast the old hangars of Thorney Island (once an airbase).

The Ham brook passes under the seawall as you turn left and this is a nice sheltered spot to watch little egrets and black-headed gulls, redshanks and oystercatchers as they feed, along the edge of this stream. I also watched 50 carrion crows feeding on the saltmarsh.

Turn left alongside the farm hedge with reedbed to left soon coming to Nutbourne village.

Left along road and where this ends follow all the fingerposts as the footpath meanders right then left through gardens with the tall trees of poplar, willow, scots pine and ash and apple orchards.

Two footpaths do strike off right (north) to the A259 but ours keeps ahead or left and take the first left when this path divides again.

It follows the edge of the field back to the seawall where turn right back to Alvis about which many people still say: “Is it some sort of Morris?

“We used to have one when we were children and it was so lovely with its woodwork along the sides...”

Yes it is – that’s why I cling to old memories, too.

Hope you enjoyed the songs of the curlews as well.