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Chichester Harbour

Chichester Harbour
Photo copyright Chichester Harbour Conservancy

At 74km2, Chichester Harbour is the largest natural estuary in South East England. It is a living, working landscape, where over 10,000 people live. The Harbour straddles the county boundary between West Sussex and Hampshire, and every year, around 1.5 million people visit, whether to sail the waters or walk the network of footpaths.

There are 14 sailing clubs in the Harbour and some 5,200 moorings and berths. At peak time, over 12,000 boats can be found on the water, whether to participate in competitive sporting events or to enjoy recreational cruising.

The Harbour is also a bird watchers paradise, where over 51,000 water fowl feed, rest and breed. Of particular note is the Brent Goose, an iconic migratory bird. During the winter months over 10,000 Brent Geese visit Chichester Harbour constituting 5% of the international population. There is also an established colony of seals, which bask in the sun and swim between Langstone and Chichester Harbours.

The area is recognised for its ecological importance through a number of complementary international, national and local designations. The management of the landscape is guided by a statutory Management Plan (2014-2019), a strategic partnership document encompassing shared approaches to looking after this protected area that are consistent with these designations.

Chichester Harbour is intensively used. Its day-to-day management presents significant challenges for the principal guardian organisation, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, to help look after water safety on the one hand, and nature conservation on the other. Only through integration will a truly joined-up, coherent and sustainable approach be established.

 

AONB Area   of Outstanding Natural Beauty The   highest landscape designation in England and Wales, equivalent to National   Park, with the purpose to conserve and enhance natural beauty.
SSSI Site   of Special Scientific Interest A   national conservation designation. There is one large SSSI that spans the   Harbour, incorporating all of the water and the fringe with the land.
SPA Special   Protection Area The   Langstone and Chichester Harbour SPA is a European duty to safeguard the   habitats of migratory birds and certain particularly threatened birds.
Ramsar Ramsar   Site An   international conventional that recognises the importance of wetlands,   especially as a waterfowl habitat.
SAC Special   Area of Conservation The   Solent Maritime SAC is a European duty to conserves natural habitats and wild   fauna and flora.
SNCI / SINC Site   of Nature Conservation Importance (West Sussex) and Site of Importance for   Nature Conservation (Hampshire) Equivalent   county designations for substantive local nature conservation and geological   value. There are 15 SNCIs and 28 SINC, at Itchenor, Birdham, Dell Quay,   Fishbourne, Chidham, Nutbourne, Thorney Island, Emsworth, Langstone and   Hayling Island.
LNR Local   Nature Reserve Local   sites designated for conservation and field teaching. There are 5 LNRs at   Pilsey Island, the Thorney Channel, Thorney Island, Gutner Point and Sandy   Point.
HER Historic   Environment Record There   are 755 HER sites in Chichester Harbour, consisting of buildings, find spots   and monuments.

Figure 1. The range of designations that affect the management of Chichester Harbour

Birdham

Birdham

A small village on the shore of Chichester Harbour and on the western side of the Manhood Peninsula Birdham is mainly known for its two locked marinas. One of these, Birdham Pool is thought to be the oldest marina in the country. The other, Chichester Marina, is one of the largest marinas in the country. Between Birdham Pool and... Read More»

Maritime History

Maritime History

For most of its history, Sussex has been an agricultural county. The Chichester area, with the fertile coastal plain for arable and the Downs for sheep and cattle grazing, has long been one of the richest in agricultural terms. Just as the medieval sea trades were based on wool, Chichester Harbour’s sea trade from the 17th to the early... Read More»

Solar Boat

Solar Boat

There are many environmental benefits to be found when using an electrically driven Solar Powered catamaran as opposed to more conventional fuel driven vessels: · Silent running – therefore no disturbance to birds, animals or humans · No exhaust emissions – therefore no CO2 contribution to greenhouse gases · The twin hull configuration contributes two major benefits; tremendous stability and no wash.... Read More»