Wednesday 10 August 2016
East Wittering to Bognor Regis
21 miles (+ bus)
The Swan Guest House
I was up just after 6 am and walking before 7. I left my damp tent pitched and set off, minus rucksack, to walk 6 miles across the fields to West Wittering and then back along the coast.
This is definitely a moneyed area; the inland houses are big and secluded, and then there are some enormous houses facing the beach.
It was very peaceful as I walked through West Wittering to face onto Chichester Harbour again. The spit of sand dunes called East Head protects this little area from the main harbour. When I walked into the front, facing the English Channel, the wind picked up.
I headed along the beach back to East Wittering. The sand was lovely and fine but a dirty brown colour. Behind the beach were enormous houses, sat in big gardens with a small, dry moat out front and little bridges; a bit like a country pile at the seaside. I found it rather amusing to see how the housing changed as I got closer to East Wittering. The large gardens gave way to small ones and the houses, although still enormous, got smaller too. Finally, there were apartment blocks. This was a graduation of wealth from multi-million pound to million pound and then a bit less for an apartment.
I stopped at the bakers in East Wittering to get some breakfast and then headed back to the campsite to pack up. The last couple of days had taken their toll and I was tired, and it wasn’t even 10 am.
I forced myself to get going and headed inland towards Selsey. I had been led to believe it wasn’t possible to walk the beach all the way from East Wittering to Selsey Bill so I was forced along farm tracks. It was another glorious day.
Selsey Bill was strange. The town was built right up to the shingle beach and so I either had to walk across the shingle (very hard) or weave up and down side roads through the town. I did a combination. Selsey Bill, the point where I waved goodbye to the Isle of Wight and turned North East, was nothing at all. There were houses with big concrete walls that pushed you onto the shingle and that was it. No sign, no nothing. Strange place. It could be marketed “Selsey: a housing estate by the sea”.
I was exhausted. I decided to catch a bus to cut out about 4 miles. I had to go inland again anyway to get around Pagham Habour. I got off the bus by Pagham Harbour RSPB reserve and an industrial estate. There was a diner here and I went inside. It had only been open a week and Dave promised me the best burger I have had in a long time. It wasn’t, but I didn’t tell him. I ate it because I was hungry and listened to Dave tell me all about his health issues that prevent him from walking far.
It was a slow, hot, tired walk skirting the edge of Pagham Harbour when the tide was out. I didn’t even see many birds until I got around to a pool on the other side of the harbour. Here there were geese, ducks, plovers, herons, egrets and others.
I reached Pagham and took the road through the village to hit the shore again. I was on the outskirts of Bognor Regis and it was lovely. Unfortunately there was no coast path so I swapped and changed between walking along the shingle beach and walking through suburbia. This suburbia was rather plush! The Aldwick Bay private estate was very nice, with lovely big houses set on a quite road just back from the shore.
I reached Bognor Regis town and found my B&B. This one had been more reasonably priced and there weren’t any campsites. I bought some food from the local Tesco and collapsed on my bed for the evening.