with tips for cycling & hiking
This is quite a compact site just off the A259 and is popular with us as it offers the closest opportunity to visit the coast and also because my sister lives in Selsey.
It is a popular site and we tend to visit in off season and the season for this site, though not open all year, is a little longer than other C & CC sites.
The facilities are as always excellent but my only bugbear is that this site does not have a motorhome service point and ok you would lose a pitch, but these nowadays, with the increasing popularity of motorhomes, is a necessity not a luxury.
There are plenty of opportunities to cycle but you can not completely avoid the A259, but generally this can be negotiated with the help of cycle lanes, not always complete, as they disappear in places, where the road narrows, but generally West Sussex have done a good job.
Also given that the A27 takes a lot of the through traffic, we have never felt intimidated and as you will see below, the rides are somewhat circuitous.
If you want the direct route get a bus, and it is an excellent service outside of the campsite, but if you want some fun then get on your bike.
There are a number of alternatives that you can take & the approx. mileages are given below:
12 miles via Chidham & Bosham, 10 if you miss out Chidham
6 miles along Centurion Way to West Dean
5 miles from Centurion Way along A259 to site, another mile to the centre
Turn right outside of the site & follow the A259 before taking the turning on your right to Chidham for a 2 mile loop & a pleasant amble on very quiet roads,
Rejoin the main road and at the roundabout take the turning to your right to Bosham, then after ½ mile turn right to go into the village
There will be a bit of traffic on these roads but nothing excessive.
Take time to explore the village and visit the Saxon/Norman church, where it is rumoured that King Canute’s daughter was buried here.
The village has a long history with evidence of Roman, Saxon & Norman occupation.
It is in our view one of the most beautiful spots in the country but be aware that the lower road which you need take to exit the village does flood at high tide.
Follow this road around the harbour, or you can go straight across at low tide but please take time to stop and sit and drink up the atmosphere, as you look back on Bosham, across the harbour.
You will be unlucky to experience any traffic on this road.
Continue on a gentle incline away from the harbour and follow the road around until you see the path on your right to the Itchenor ferry.
Take time to sit here and take in the views across the water to West Itchenor.
It is possible to take your bike on the ferry to West Itchenor and then pick up the Salterns Way, which will take you via Chichester canal into the city centre.
This is a seasonal ferry which runs from April to October & finishes at 18.00 and we have never arrived with the ferry running but this is definitely on our hit list.
Salterns Way: http://walkandcycle.co.uk/sussex/trail_details.php?recordID=SUSSTR0072
Return from the seashore and continue on the same road, passing the entrance to the private estate of Bosham Hoe and keep following this road back to Bosham but do not go into the village.
Continue on the ‘main’ road taking two rights and then a left to pick up the A259 again.
You now need to follow this again until you can bear off towards Fishbourne Palace.
If you have not visited Fishbourne before, this is a must as it has some of the finest Roman mosaics that you are likely to see anywhere.
You can lock up your bikes outside and they will even look after your helmets for you.
Continue on to the centre of the City, loads of opportunities to eat, plenty of places to lock up your bikes and of course you have the cathedral and if you visit in the summer, do not miss the peregrine falcons that regularly nest there.
After lunch you need to head out of the City, start at Market Cross, follow the blue cycle signs towards Westgate, you are looking for the ‘Centurion Way’ which starts near the railway line at Bishop Luffin’s school.
You now follow the old Chichester to Midhurst railway line to West Dean, a distance of about 6 miles.
Workmen on the Centurion Way!
Unfortunately to get to West Dean you need to deviate off the railway path, it is signposted, and it is a sharp left and for the final section, you share a footpath with pedestrians.
It is a great pity that the cycle path does not continue all the way to Midhurst, as the track is still in place and we do not know if there are plans in place to do this.
You return the same way and you have the option of returning via the A259 (shorter but noisier) or retracing your steps via Bosham. We have never failed on our return not to revisit Bosham, even if we pick it up at the roundabout.
You now turn right out of the site and just after the church at Southbourne, turn left towards Prinsted, take time to look at the harbour at the end of the road by the scout hut.
Continue along this road and follow it until it reaches a minor road and here you turn right and pick up the A259 again.
Take the road into Emsworth, up the hill and when you get to the war memorial in the centre, take the turning left to the harbour and take the opportunity to explore this area. It is possible to follow the shore around before turning right to pick up the A259 again.
You now have to follow the A259 cycle lanes into Havant, just before entering the town,where the A259 meets the A27, the path takes you safely around on minor roads and at the bridge you need to take the cycle path on your left, it is signposted.
This is the old ‘Billy Line’ which was the route to Hayling Island built in 1865 by the ‘London Brighton & South Coast Railway’ . As you will appreciate this route was very busy in the summer but carried hardly any traffic in the winter.
In 1962 the line was closed because the cost of replacing the bridge at Langstone harbour was prohibitive.
Take the pavement to cross the bridge to Hayling Island and look towards your right and you can see the remains of the old railway crossing.
Virtually immediately after you have crossed the bridge take the track on your right which is the ‘Billy Line’. For many parts of this track you are very close to the sea and do not forget to take your binoculars as this is an important ‘birding’ area.
When the track finishes at the theatre, take the road almost opposite and continue to the sea at Hayling Island. You can cycle in either direction, about a mile west and two east.
You return by retracing your steps but at Havant it is a good idea to continue on the short stretch of the ‘Billy Line’ to the old level crossing to see where it joined the mainline before returning to head back towards the site.