RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Itchenor to West Wittering

Here is a walk to say farewell to the brent geese before they start the long flight back to Russia this month. Many will have gone already.


Distance six miles (9.5km), with parking at Itchenor pay car park. Walk down to the shore where all the boats launch into Bosham Deeps.

Brent geese, curlews, and redshank are always seen in Furzefield creek on the opposite shore.

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Turn left, west, along the shoreline to follow yellow arrow on New Lipchis Way footpath. This will take you all the way southwest down the shoreline to West Wittering. Itchenor Park with its meadows and trees was the home of the third Duke of Richmond who in the 18th century constructed his sloop Goodwood in the shipyards of Itchenor.

The biggest boat ever launched in the village was the 900-ton warship Chichester that sported 44 cannons.

Phoenician, Roman and Viking ships plied this channel, and long before humans were thought of, honeysuckle and hazels grew in what was just a river valley.

I have found their fossilised remains from under the mud.

The footpath trees made a pleasant lovers’ lane and no doubt some were servicemen stationed hereabouts before D-Day.

Also Battle of Britain pilots in the 1940s, for whom this little bit of England was a haven from those foreign fields to come.

The footpath skirts a house on the shore around the back of which you will briefly have to scurry before seeing once more the sea to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

The path winds past the small spit of shingle and saltings’ plants at Ella Nore, where the lane of that name leads south.

Turn left at the road in the village, where there is a public lavatory and a seat to rest your weary legs if that’s what they are.

Turn left again at the main road on to the pavement, passing as you go the plaque on the wall marking the house where Sir Henry Royce lived in the earlier part of the last century and where he oversaw the design of the R-type engine that became the Merlin, powering such mighty aircraft as the Spitfire and Lancaster.

The pavement takes you half-a-mile northeast to the cycle way up Sheepwash Lane back to Itchenor.

There are two footpaths you could take on this return, as shown on my map,