Much as we relish living a stones throw away from the Surrey countryside, we’re lucky in that we can reach the coast in an hour or so. Sometimes it’s nice just to feel the wind in your hair and listen to the sound of the waves isn’t it? A favoured beach is West Wittering, located less than 10 miles away from Chichester. It’s a premier Blue Flag beach but did you know East Head, located walking distance from West Wittering, is also one of the best beaches in the country?
Managed by the National Trust, East Head is reached from the far end of the West Wittering car park. The landscape is quite something what with salt marshes to the right and sand-dune lined beach to the left. The salt marsh is one of the rarest habits in the south and home to many species in the winter months.
East Head is a rare and fragile environment and one of the last surviving pieces of natural coastline in West Sussex. It’s a superb place for exploring, paddling or a swimming. There’s an array of wildlife at East Head from skylarks, ring plovers and rare sand lizards. Sometimes seals can be spotted off the northern end of the beach too albeit usually when the tide is higher and they’re forced off their mud flats.
East Head is a very different environment to West Wittering with it’s colourful beach huts but I find it fascinating. The sweeping landscape is breathtaking on the approach and once on the beach, the low tide breakwater posts are quite mesmerising. On my last trip there it honestly felt like I was the only person on the beach although I wasn’t. I’m sure there are some great stories to be told about East Head although I’m yet to fully discover the history. For now I’m more than happy just to take it all in, capture those remarkable views and breathe in that wonderful sea air.