West Wittering - East Head Beach
© Peter Facey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
This delightful sand dune spit on the eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour is considered by many to be one of the best beaches in West Sussex. Here visitors will find a sandy beach, backed by dunes and salt marshes which provide a habitat for many rare species of plant and animal life. The spit covers approximately 10 hectares and is linked to the mainland by a narrow spit known as "The Hinge".
This is a good place for spotting wildlife. Skylarks nest in the marram grass which grows amongst the dunes, and ringed plover nest in the shingle at the north end of the beach. At low tide there is a chance of spotting seals lazing around on the mudflats. If you're looking for a place to bathe, or build sandcastles, then West Wittering main beach is the place to go, but if you feel like walking out to explore a stunning natural environment then East Head is an ideal location.
The beach here is very fragile and the sands are constantly shifting. The area has been designated a Special Site of Scientific Interest, as well as a Ramsar Site (as a wetland of international importance). In summer, beautiful wildflowers such as sea bindweed and scarlet pimpernel can be found here.
East Head has excellent views out over Bracklesham Bay and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Stroll along the sands here and watch the yachts and other sea vessels sailing by.
The area is owned and managed by the National Trust. To access the beach, go to West Wittering Beach car park and take the footpath leading out from the western end of the parking area. Parking here is expensive, but there are plenty of good facilities provided here including toilets and a café. Not surprisingly, it can get pretty busy here in the summer season.