RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Smugglers Lane, Bosham Channel

This walk of only 1.7 miles (2.8 kms) is really another of my ‘viewing platforms’ for wetland birds of Chichester Harbour.

It is a shortened version of the full Monty that you can expect in my new book published in the spring by Summersdale Publishing which details 52 of my favourite walks in West Sussex.

Today I describe part of one of those walks. Park at Ferry Barn one mile south of Bosham at bend in road. Space for about six cars.

Walk south down the old tree lined Smugglers Lane to the harbour opposite Itchenor.

Now be warned: my walk is only possible at low-mid tide.

This walk floods, especially at new or full moons and during southwest gales.

Don’t worry too much – lots of people walk it safely, though you will need rubber Wellingtons.

So, having arrived at the seaside, a continual movement of sea birds passes to and fro before you.

Usually up to 50 brent geese will be feeding near you, either on the flood or on the mud.

Look for youngsters. They have no white collar. Family groups tend to stay as a unit.

These birds have recently flown 2,000 miles, either round the top of Norway, or down the Baltic, passing St Petersburg.

In the creeks will be redshank, a sort of black and white wader with long orange legs.

As the tide rises these will be flying right to left up channel to roost at Fishbourne.

You will hear a curlew’s lovely trill, which is the spring song of the desolate moors of Lapland.

Now walking right, to the westward, you will come to Bosham Channel and follow this north.

At low tide the hummocks created in 1910 when the South American plant called rice grass was accidentally imported on trade boats, are visible.

Around them, teal (small ducks) and wigeon (larger) may be feeding.

Often there is an oyster catcher here (black and white wader with long red beak).

Often an egret fishes here (small white heron) and 100 dunlin fly upstream.

There are silvery, small waders. Usually a cormorant flaps upstream or may even be diving for fish.

In winter this is a good place to see groups of goldeneye diving ducks, also mergansers.

On reaching the roadway east along the seawall, several seats give a pleasant viewing place to sit and enjoy this beautiful view across the harbour to Bosham church.

I often return the way I came, but the round walk takes you safely back along the road to a car built like a boat. Wish it could actually float.