We headed down to Pagham Harbour in the beautiful county of West Sussex last weekend to see one of my ‘besties’, and (perhaps more importantly!) two of Hoover’s besties, Diesel and Marley. We are exceptionally lucky that we have friends that live in great places…always a bonus…
If you head down to Pagham Beach you’ll find a lovely long stretch of unspoilt and wild beach that runs into the mud flats of Pagham Harbour, and then on into a network of paths that cross the neighbouring farmland. You’ll find Pagham Beach Cafe at the bottom of Sea Lane with some outside seating for doggy people and a car park just across the street. (map)
We headed down Harbour Road, enjoying having a cheeky peak at all the beach houses, some of which still show evidence of their beginnings as railway carriages. Harbour Road ‘runs out’ as you come to the end of the row of houses and the shingle begins…we entered an open space which is a disused car park (there is a rare poo bin here of the ‘old school’ variety) and turned right through an obvious gap in the low (knee high) timber fence. The path crosses a short distance, with Pagham Harbour to the left and the lagoon to the right, to the causeway (you’ll be able to look across and see Church Farm Holiday Park). We turned right onto the causeway after which we kept left and followed the path between the harbour and the caravans. We crossed a little timber bridge and turned left, moving away from the caravans and following the side of the harbour. It’s very green here and you only get glimpses of the harbour through the hedgerow when it is in full leaf in the summer, but after a short distance we turned right through a gate which took us right down onto the harbourside. This is a very natural area so take care where you walk: when the tide is out things can get pretty sticky, and when it is in things can get pretty wet. By following the edge of the harbour we came to Pagham Wall, which is a causeway between the harbour and the adjacent fields that you can walk along the top of. It’s fab. There are a couple of benches so you can stop to take five and soak up the scenery.
About half way along Pagham Wall we turned right and dropped down into the adjacent field, where we followed a thin, well-trodden trail through the grass to the back corner of the field, then we went through the next field and back around through the field after that heading left. It can be very wet in here after a lot of rain. In the bottom corner of the field we passed through a metal kissing gate (very dog friendly) and walked along a short track between the hedgerows. At the end of this track we appeared up on Pagham Wall again, but a bit further along from where we left it. We simply retraced our steps along The Wall, but instead of turning right at the end and walking back along the inside of the harbour we carried on for another five minutes or so until we reached a tarmac lane (Church Lane). A few steps up Church Lane, and just past the ponies (please do not feed them!), there is a gap in the hedge on the right into a field. We walked through the field, keeping right and hugging the horses paddock. This then bought us to the path that we would have been on had we not gone through the gate to the harbour earlier, so by staying on this we came back to the little timber bridge where we could re-trace our steps past the lagoon and up onto the beach. Instead of turning back down Harbour Road we walked straight past, onto the pebbles and down to the sea, which we followed until we were back at ‘down town’ Pagham and the beach cafe, and car.
This walk is roughly four to five miles. If you wanted to make it longer you can turn left when you get back to Harbour Road, and walk in the opposite direction to the houses. This will take you around the spit at the mouth of the harbour, before you return back along the shoreline to your car. When the tide is out you can also stay on Pagham Wall and the follow the footpath further round the perimeter of Pagham Harbour to Sidlesham, where the Crab & Lobster is. (map) This is a fab place for lunch, and they didn’t bat an eyelid when I visited with friends and a couple of large, mud-covered, swamp-dogs a year or two ago…but do watch out for the tide. If in doubt drive round after your walk…!