Beach huts, shells and a long bench

January 14, 2018

Much as we love exploring the countryside, there’s something to be said about an impromptu trip to the coast. West Wittering is always a firm favourite but there are plenty of beaches in West Sussex to discover. Like Littlehampton which has two beaches and an extraordinarily long bench.

Located on the coastal plain below the South Downs, the Littlehampton area was once owned by the Earls of Arundel and later the Dukes of Norfolk who still live in Arundel. The town was originally a fishing community but having become more holiday focused attracted famous painters and poets like Byron, Coleridge, Shelley and Constable. Littlehampton’s West Beach is a great spot for relaxing, taking in views of neighbouring Bognor and the even the Isle of Wight. There’s a Napoleonic Fort there where you might find some fossils along with the award winning West Beach Cafe.

We headed to the East Beach which is well known for being home to Britain’s longest bench – one of the longest benches in the world in fact. Situated on the seafront, it’s 324 metres long and made from recycled hardwood. Over 200 slats are engraved with messages from visitors and local people. The bench was designed by Studio Weave with the help of local school children and funded by a grant and donation from the family of The Body Shop Founder Anita Roddick. The bench twists and turns along the promenade and there are two shelters where the bench curves into unusually shaped seats.

POD’s finally cracked cycling without stablisers so we took her bike with us so she could practice on the promenade. She’s loving the freedom cycling brings although we seem to spend our time running after her at the moment! POD seems so much more grown up since she turned seven on Christmas Day but she loved larking around on the beach. The tide was still fairly high but that didn’t stop her hunting for unusual shells – especially those with a hole in so she could skewer them with a stick she’d discovered. They all ended up in her bag so I’ve no doubt there will be handful of sand in there also.

I don’t know about you but I find it impossible to walk past beach huts without photographing them. There’s something about the colours and the symmetry I just love. Sometimes they have completely different styles, as they do at West Wittering, but here each group of huts had the same colours. All beautifully kept if only we could have had a peek inside one or two of them.

We had some unexpected sunshine while we were in Littlehampton, perfect for skimming stones into the sea and checking out the adventure play area. Much to POD’s delight there was a zip wire and a piece of apparatus that saw her spin round in the air among other things. She was then back on her bike cycling like a pro along the promenade. Back we went past the longest bench, stopping along the way for a little climbing, before heading to a grass bank for some more cycling practice. She’s doing so well having flatly refused to cycle for a good year or so. She was loving scooting to school but now we’re not longer doing that, it’s provided her with the perfect excuse to learn to ride. The Doves have had quite a lot going on recently so it was great to escape, feel the warmth of the sun on our faces (while it lasted!) and listen to the sound of those calming waves. Until next time Littlehampton.



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