And what a beach it is!
Every summer the A286 road from Chichester to the Manhood Pensinsula is clogged full of happy holiday makers and most of them are headed for one place only - West Wittering.
West Wittering beachWest Wittering beach is one of the most popular beaches in south-east England and deservedly so.
Gently shelving sands, interesting views of the Isle of Wight and Hayling Island and the prospect of blowing the cobwebs away with a walk around the loop of East Head make West Wittering Beach a lot more fun than most parts of the English seaside.
The beach is extremely popular on a sunny day, so it's best to plan a long stay to make your trip worthwhile (although the car park is locked at night so don't plan on staying too long).
You'll have to pay to get your car into the car park at West Wittering Beach, but the facilities are good and the beach unsurpassed round these parts.
East HeadEast Head is a real coastal treasure - a sand spit about a mile long which curves inwards towards the middle of Chichester Harbour.
East Head spit joins the mainland at a narrow strip of sand called The Hinge. Despite the shelter provided by the Isle of Wight, the Hinge takes the full force of the wind and waves and there is a very real risk that one day the sea might break through at The Hinge, cutting off East Head and destroying the salt marsh behind it.
Something similar happened at Pagham Harbour in 1911 and so this is no idle threat by conservationists.
The current approach to managing this process has goes by the euphamism managed realignment. Critics of this policy means that this is a dressed up form of abandoning East Head to the elements.
The salt marshBetween the spit of East Head and the mainland there's a sheltered lagoon which constitutes an extremely important habitat. The salt marsh at East Head is a wetland site of international importance with plants like sea purslane, sea lavender and eel grass.
The West Wittering AffairWest Wittering lends its name to a film called The West Wittering Affair.
The film was shot on a notoriously measly budget.
If you were expecting scenes of the magnificent dunes at West Wittering or other local colour, then you'd be disappointed. As the Guardian reviewer put it, "Visually this isn't much better than a carefully planned home movie". But the film is an enjoyable rom-com with a bittersweet but satisfying ending - I won't spoil it for you.
Where to stay near West Wittering
West Wittering Information
Protect East HeadA different view of how the future of East Head spit should be secured.
Beach FacilitiesInfo about opening times at West Wittering Beach.
Check out the history section too for an example of how local residents with deep pockets, a keen interest in protecting the environment and a long term set of goals can make a real difference.
West Wittering Sailing ClubFine sailing in and around the mouth of Chichester Harbour.
WW Cricket ClubThe cricket club also play crocket and petanque.
The West Wittering AffairThe movie's official site.
Map of the area
- East Wittering
- West Itchenor
- The Salterns Way
- Chichester Harbour
- Chichester Canal
- Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve
- Pagham village
- Flooding around Selsey
- Bognor Regis
- Burgess Hill
- East Grinstead
- Haywards Heath