As the mercury soared I followed a well traveled route to the canal at Hunston & the towpath which leads into Chichester, it's a popular shortcut and in recent years has seen much conservation work done to improve its picturesque appeal and accessibility.
Looking towards Chichester Cathedral
Whizzing past commuters and through the bustle of Chi I was destined for a much quieter place so took the bike path south to Bosham. There is a more direct route to the little hamlet of Bosham, but I prefer the couple of extra miles around the leafy and secluded country lanes.
A couple of weeks ago this field would've looked not unlike a quagmire.
Smugglers you were warned!
I was rewarded by the brilliant Smugglers Lane, which in decades gone by would've seen plenty nefarious deeds & skullduggery take place no doubt, now it is lined with cottages and houses of a typical English Country manor persuasion all individually named in the maritime ilk...Mermaid Cottage, The BenBow, Dolphin Cottage, Harbour Lights etc , incidentally the latter property is up for sale if you happen to have a spare £2mil stuffed down the cushions of your sofa.
At the end of my detour I was greeted with the impressive view of Old Bosham & its ancient church across the harbour. It is a lovely rustic view, more impressive when the tide is high, & I cycled around the harbour to the village green placed in the most perfect picnic spot.
The road opposite Old Bosham village, filled with rustic cottages with a less than rustic price tag
Old Bosham village from across the harbour at low tide
I met a wonderfully informative gent on a bench in front of the church, whom I spent the next half an hour chatting with. Getting a history of the Church (which dates back to the Saxons), village & various famous home owners, who included Joan Collins. The aging chap was like something out of a Enid Blyton adventure with epic sideburns, verging on Mutton Chops, and delighted in telling me about the legends of buried civil war treasure under the manor house, the various ghosts who walk the village streets at night and the areas which have been used for filming such quality dramas as Poirot & Midsomer Murders.
Bosham Church & old mill house
The Church where King Harold once hung out before heading off to France.
Bosham is made up of a few small lanes with character filled cottages and English country gardens.
I enjoyed a delicious lunch of chicken salad sarnies and fruit in a sun drenched spot with a sea breeze, watching the various yachts and sail boats go past. Then I realised the tide had turned.
The village green, my pew of choice & my trusted steed.
The old mill
One of the quirks of Bosham, and something which many unfortunate soul has fallen foul too after leaving their parked car, is that much of the surrounding road disappears under the incoming tide. Bosham isn't cut off, but my scenic route back home would be a much wetter affair if I dawdled much longer. So I bade fairly well to the hamlet of Bosham & its quirky folk.
Um, your road seems to have sprung a leak
Making my way round the harbour trying to not get too wet.
Old Bosham from across the harbour at high tide
Everyone makes the most of the water on a hot day
After a 26 mile round trip in 29 degree C heat, it's fair to say I was on the exhausted side of knackered & in the final few miles the bicycle seat I rested my rump upon was not my friend....I became acutely aware of just how many pot holes & rough surfaces the roads from Chichester to Bognor have...Council be a dear and sort out a smooth & slightly cushioned road surface would you. But in all it was a most agreeable day.
Should you care to cycle the route yourself, here be a map I coloured in via Google Earth.