Day 020: Climping to Bracklesham

Distance: 22.06 miles

Ascent: 584 feet

Weather: Rain All Day

Accommodation: Wild camp Near Bracklesham


I woke up this morning feeling fine, apart from obviously feeling empty from the illness the day before. I ate a fair amount for breakfast fruit, toast, cereal to bring my energy levels back up to normal. I was though cautious about how I might feel once walking. So, I decided that the best plan of action was to walk as far as Bognor Regis (about 6 miles), have some more food there and then reassess. From the forecast I knew today would be a wet one.

Slightly annoyingly the first part of my day was walking back to where I had been picked up the day before, fortunately this was only a couple of kilometers. Once on the beach I headed towards Middleton-on-Sea, which involved walking along the shingle beach. This stretch had some significant granite breakwaters about 100m out to sea, each one shaped like a crescent, and overall spanning 2 or so kilometers. 

At Middleton as it was low tide I was able to drop down onto the sand which was significantly easier/quicker to walk on, and I soon reached the promenade at Bognor Regis. It is strange how some place names seem to have negative connotations just based on how they sound like Scunthorpe, Slough, Bognor Regis. The huge Butlins is hard to miss and at this time of year in the rain it looks quite sad but sure would be great fun for kids in the Summer.

I had reached Bognor Regis so took my break, and it happened to be that a Brewer’s Fayre was the first place I passed. It is a while since I was in one of these, but 2 poached egg on toast, and bottomless tea for £3 as well as wi-fi seemed good value to me. I could feel no negative effects physical or sick wise so decided I would carry on and just assess how I felt as the day went on.

From Bognor Regis I followed the coast to Pagham Harbour. Pagham Harbour is a natural harbour, and not an estuary as it has no major stream or river running into it. In the late 1800’s, the locals attempted to drain the harbour so that they could use the land for farming and as part of this they built an embankment across the face of the lagoon. This embankment was breached in 1910 and never reconstructed. This was a slight annoyance for my walk as the breach meant there is a 50m uncrossable gap, so I had to head inland around the harbour. The paths around the harbour were actually quite interesting following natural features in the land (beaches, reeds etc.) and on a sunny day as opposed to the dampness of today, I imagine this would be an absolutely stunning walk.

Around half way around Pagham harbour I came across a pub and decided it would be a good idea to have come crisps and a coke just to keep my salts/sugars up. The pub was called The Crab and Lobster, and on entering I was asked where I was walking and explained the challenge, and they kindly offered me a lovely bowl of soup, bread and a drink free of charge. This was a lovely pub, and the bite to eat gave me the energy I needed to push on. (I have also just noticed they have shared my challenge through their facebook page)

Unbelievably it was still raining, and I soon re-joined the beach, before hitting Selsey. Selsey was unlike any other coastal town I had hit, there were many individual little shellfish trawlers, sporadically dotted along the promenade with their own little gap in the wall and yard. There was something else different about it but couldn’t work out what it was. I detoured inland slightly to get to a Co-op.

The last part of the day I knew may be difficult as a new bird reserve (Medmerry) has been created in the last few years and the OS map and google maps have not caught up with this yet. I had hoped to be able to follow the embankment all the way inland and around this, but it was not quite this simple with a few detours, which fortunately were well signposted. I stopped a little short of Bracklesham as it would not be long till it was dark. Fortunately the rain eased briefly to allow me to pitch the tent without the inner getting wet.

So given how ill I felt yesterday, it was very fortunate that I felt able to not just walk but walk a full day today. I am now one day behind schedule and will leave my rest day as Bosham (as I have a generous offer of accommodation) which means I will be walking tomorrow.

All in all a very successful day and an enjoyable one, even if the rain (non-stop from dawn till dusk) did do it’s best to dampen my spirits. 

NB - due to the rain I didn't risk my phone or camera taking to many pictures so less photos than usual.

charles compton