The Chichester Canal was opened in 1823 as a branch off the Portsmouth to Arundel Canal. Built to provide an alternative inland route to the vulnerable sea passage between Portsmouth and London during the Napoleonic Wars, most of the canal became derelict by the mid 1850s, when competition from coastal traffic and then the railways became too great.
However, the sections from the sea at Chichester Harbour to Hunston and from there to Chichester survived as a working canal until 1906, partly because they were built to accommodate larger ships of up to 100 tons. The canal brought in building materials and (especially) coal, and took away manure. Abandoned in 1928, the entrance lock and a short length at Salterns were retained as yacht moorings (prior to the building of Chichester Marina alongside), and the lock is still capable of operation. The remainder of the route to Chichester was leased to the local angling club and gradually silted up over the following half-century. Two main road bridges were later replaced by unnavigable culverts, blocking the canal.
In the 1970s a trust was formed to reopen the canal, and the section from Hunston to Chichester now sees regular boat trips by the Chichester Canal Society. The various Councils are committed in the long term to opening the canal right to the sea once again. The Canal Society has a small exhibition and shop at Chichester Canal basin, and in summer operates boat trips along the navigable section.
The canal towpath is popular both with anglers, walkers and cyclists and forms part of a cycle route into Chichester from Hunston. The canal is important for wildlife, and a wide variety of birds and insect life can be seen in the summer months.
Suits me and my buddy for a great day out for either sketching or photoshoots.we don't mind either. Often we take a bite for midday, but more often than not.we end up in a local hostelry. Very nice boat ride, .we don't do self propelled any more.
Once you've done this then you'll want to do the harbour .
Great day out if the sun is shining, i sometimes cycle alongside the canal and stop for a picnic, have also cycled to the Witterings from here, but its not for the faint hearted and make sure you've got a comfy saddle. Don't forget your picnic. Great wildlife spotting along the way also.
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