On a sunny day in Chichester there is no better day out for couples or a family than Chichetser canal.
For about £10 you can hire a rowing boat and head out of the basin and up the canal as far as Hunston!!.
I would recommend taking a picnic and a chilled bottle of wine(or two) and heading up the canal. There are plenty of places to more up and enjoy the sun, sights and chilled wine.
About half way up the canal there is an excellent view of the cathedral.
Even though the canal is a popular spot for people on day outs and walks, the canal never feels crowded.
There is a some parking by the canal itself but it is limited. There is however a large cinema/gym complex across the road with ample and free!! parking.
A great day out!!
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 .
Walked the length of the Chichester Canal on Sunday. Its only about 4 miles but full of interest. Most of it is in water and of course the Chichester Basin has a couple of trip boats, and a brand new visitors' centre.
They want to restore the canal right to Pagham Harbour, but the dropped bridges will be a problem since at least one is on the main road to / from the Witterings and Bracklesham. All of the locks will need rebuilding and the final two miles to the Harbour will need massive dredging.
Towards the Chichester Marina there is a derelict section that has some decrepid house boats of the floating pontoon variety on it. Some are for sale at £200,000+!! Many have their own little cable-hauled ferries to gain access to those on the non-towpath side.
At the Salter's Sea Lock there is a notice stating that is in working order. Well maybe but Egremont Bridge (1820) just above is well welded to the banks so any boats in the lock aren't going to get far.
However there were a couple of very interesting sights on the canal near the unnavigable seaward end.
One was a swan nesting on eggs but it was a black female swan. I've never seen a wild black swan in Sussex before or anywhere else in the UK for that matter. The male wasn't around.
The other was an old naval craft RNSP Fusil. This was languishing unloved and uncared for and eventually destined like so many of our historic craft to rot and sink into Davey Jone's domain. I wonder if anyone knows its history or even if there is an owner who 'might' be trying to restore it?
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.
nice place 2 have some picnics and stuff beautiful place 2 be