This article deals with the central section of Chichester Harbour, including Thornham, Itchenor and Bosham.
It also deals with the three recognised anchoring spots at East Head, Pilsey Island, and near Itchenor
After entering the harbour this whole area is reached by turning to starboard following a well-marked channel. Off this channel there are two further branches to the North, the Thorney Channel and the Bosham Channel. The main Chichester Channel itself leads past Itchenor and onwards towards Chichester.
The facilities at the Eastern end of this channel are covered in the final article on Chichester Harbour
Harbour Dues Update 2020.
Chichester Conservancy have clarified the position on Harbour dues and Marina fees. If stopping overnight at a marina the fees you pay the Marina will include the harbour dues. A subsequent overnight stop in the harbour outside a marina is not covered by that payment and harbour dues would have to be paid
For information on the dues payable to the Board see their website at:-
In general provisioning is not easy in this area of isolated and historic villages, and even the most basic items require a bit of a hike. There are however various pubs and eating places within and around the village of Bosham, with perhaps less choice at Itchenor.
The recognised anchoring places have no facilities nearby, and boats must not be left unattended for more than a short while. Anchor shapes and lights must be used, and harbour dues paid.
Entry to Chichester from the sea has already been covered in a separate article, and this takes up where that left off.
As the harbour is entered the three green conical Winner Buoys are right on the edge of the Winner shingle bank. They need to be left well to starboard and the corner never cut....
Following the three green conical Winner Buoys at a safe distance off to starboard will bring you from a northerly course to an easterly course. You should be able to pick up the red can buoy Stocker (Fl(3)R.10s) and aim to leave this well on your port side.
Proceeding eastwards you will come to the green conical buoy E.Head Spit (Fl(4)G.10s). This should be left to starboard and marks the area of the East Head Anchorage. Boats anchor to the East of this buoy, out of the main channel and off the sandy beach at West Wittering.
Two further red can buoys, Sandhead (Fl.R.10s) and NE Sandhead (now removed, see below) are both left on your port side, and then for the Chichester Channel steer north-east and try and pick up the distant transit marks. The forward Mark is the Roman Transit beacon which is red port hand marker, and the rear mark is the so-called Main Channel Beacon, with white rectangular daymark mounted on the shore. These line up on 032°, but if you have trouble identifying them it is not too difficult to keep within this straight stretch of deep water.
A Southerly Cardinal mark " Camber" (Q(6)+LFl.15s) marks the point at which the Thorney Channel diverges to the North.
If intending to proceed north up the Thorney Channel, the above-mentioned southerly Cardinal Mark is left to starboard, and the red Pilsey Island Beacon (Fl(2)R.10s) is left on your port side, and a green starboard hand mark will be seen marking the eastern side of the Channel. This green post is actually mounted in a drying area, so should be given a wide berth to starboard. A recognised anchorage exists just to the north of the red beacon with Pilsey Island to the West. If continuing northwards towards the drying Thornham Marina pass between another pair of red and green beacons after which the channel is marked by perches. There is good water up to Stanbury Point, after which it diminishes and finally dries in the region of Prinstead Point. There are moorings found in the upper channel.
Continuation towards Chichester.
If continuing towards Chichester the Southerly Cardinal "Camber" can be left to port, and a green conical buoy Rookwood left to starboard. A series of green posts on your starboard side also show the way, but bear in mind they are well out of the channel so don't approach them too closely at low water.
Continuing on the north easterly course will bring you to the green Chaldock Beacon (Fl(2)G.10s) and once past this a more easterly course will be needed, shaping up for the green conical Fairway Buoy (Fl(3)G.10s).
Another recognised anchorage exists south of an imaginary line drawn between the green Chaldock Beacon, and the green conical Fairway Buoy both mentioned above. It is shown on the chart.
In the region of the green Fairway Buoy the Bosham Channel diverges to the North with the actual split being marked by the southerly cardinal beacon "Deep End" which is unlit. For the Bosham Channel this mark is left to starboard. For the Chichester Channel / Itchenor Reach this mark is left on your port side, with the green Fairway Buoy being left to starboard.
A generally south-easterly course will bring you to the facilities available in Itchenor Reach, including harbour authority moorings, service pontoon for taking on water, and foreshore scrubbing posts etc. A link to the Harbour Authority website is provided below, and without a doubt you'll see their operatives out and about on the water.
Further progress eastwards will bring the mariner to the huge Chichester Marina, and also Birdham Pool. These are covered in a separate article dealing with Chichester Harbour East.
The Bosham Channel is entered by leaving the southerly Cardinal beacon " Deep End" to starboard and proceeding in a generally northerly direction, swinging slightly to a north easterly direction soon. The channel is well marked with posts and moorings to show the way. Deep water is carried fairly close to the Bosham, but the Quay at this village dries out. Craft drawing up to 2 m can reach here at the top of the spring tide
There are three recognised anchorages within the area covered, East Head, Pilsey Island, and Chaldock Point.
Anchor shapes and lights need to be displayed. Thornham Marina, Bosham Quay and some harbour authority moorings at Itchenor are other places where the yachtsman or motorboater can get moored up in this central part of Chichester Harbour. Wherever you clew up in within the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Area you will be subject to Harbour Dues (£5.00 per night per boat) These charges are not applicable if paying a marina over night visitors dues . All these places are now described:
Anchor just to the north of East Head, to the east of the green conical buoy E. Head Spit, as shown on the chart. Can get crowded and has had sandy beach ashore. No facilities nearby. The anchorage is rather exposed, although has reasonable protection from the South West through to the East.
Pilsey Island Anchorage.
Again well marked on the chart just to the east of Pilsey Island in the Thorney Channel. Not so prone to overcrowding, but a bit exposed. No facilities in the immediate offing.
Chaldock Point Anchorage.
This Anchorage has already been described in the previous section and is well marked again on the charts. Not impossibly far from Itchenor, but not much in the way of facilities there either. (eg. shops, etc).
The following applies to all the anchorages:
Anchor ball and lights need to be displayed, and craft must not be left unattended for more than a short while. The authorities are liable to be round collecting harbour dues.
This is accessed via the Thornham Channel. The upper reaches of this channel dry out completely so this marina is only really suitable for fairly shallow draft craft (say under 1.5 m) that are able to take the ground and sit upright. It also has a small basin where craft can lay afloat at all times.
Being a bit out of the way this Marina doesn't see many visitors, and no dedicated visitors' berths are kept available. If there is room available this Marina will be happy to accommodate you. Try calling them on 01243 375335. A link to their website is provided below:
The charges here are £23.58 per night, and facilities include electricity and water on the pontoons, showers and toilets ashore. They may charge for electrical hook up. There are various services on-site including 12 Tonne travel lift, engineering, wooden boat specialists, etc... check directory.
Nearest provisioning sources are Southbourne and Emsworth, both about a mile away, and both with a supermarket. There was a bar restaurant at the Marina that covered breakfasts through to evening meals in the summer; that burnt down a couple of years back and they are still going through the planning permission hoops to replace it; hopefully summer 2021
Bosham Quay is approached via the Bosham Channel, as already described. In the close approach a westerly Cardinal beacon needs to be left well to starboard. Almost at the Quay, there is a southerly Cardinal Mark at the end of a wooden training wall/ breakwater. This structure runs parallel to and close to the quay wall. Leave this mark to starboard and keep close to the quay wall side when tying up.
The Quay is under the control of the Bosham Quaymaster, telephone 01243 573 336. He allocates quayside berths, and may occasionally have swinging moorings available also. Certain berths on the Quay are a soft mud bottom, whilst others at the eastern end have a hard bottom and are used for scrubbing off. An inclusive price of around £1.30 per foot for these scrubbing berths include the pressure washer and water, working out around £43 for a 10m boat. The Quaymaster seems fairly laid back about charging visiting boats for a couple of nights unless they make use of the scrubbing grid.
Fender-boards are available and will be needed, and it may be possible to hook up to limited electricity. Fresh water is available as is a small crane for masts etc.
Provisioning is not straightforward, with the nearest farm shop being a good quarter of an hour's hike away. This establishment has a cash machine. There is also a Co-op within walking distance, but a large stock up will need a visit to the Tesco's near Fishbourne by cab.
Bosham Sailing Club on the Quay is hospitable to visiting yachtsman who may use their toilets and showers as well as make use of the restaurant and bar. They can be contacted on 01243 572341 with a link to their website below:
Chichester harbour authority have no moorings in this area, but will no doubt still be chasing you up for harbour dues.
There are some harbour authority mooring buoys off Itchenor, and a bit further down past the town there is an isolated visitors' pontoon. Rafting of up to 6 deep is practised on the mooring buoys. (Boats not to be left unattended overnight on the buoys). Standard charges are £11.00 a night for a 10m boat on the buoy or pontoon, plus harbour dues. For berthing availability contact the Chichester harbour office on VHF channel 14, or call 01243 512301.
There are scrubbing posts available here, book with the harbour authorities. Other facilities include the deepwater, shortstay Itchenor Jetty. Here you are allowed up to 20 minutes to take on water (which is available on the pontoon) or load/unload.
Token operated showers are available at the harbour office building here.
Various marine specialists are available at Itchenor... see the directory. There is also a ferry operating to and from the moorings only during the summer months try phoning 07970 378350, or call VHF channel 8. They have a website at https://www.itchenorferry.co.uk/
Provisioning... hopeless... nearest small stores 20 minutes walk away. One Pub only (with good reputation), but the Itchenor Sailing Club just opposite welcomes visiting yachtsman (from other recognised yacht clubs) and serves meals at lunchtimes and evenings. Contact them on 01243 512400, or link to their website below:(Scroll through Clubhouse> Information for visitors> Welcome)
This about covers the anchoring, berthing and mooring options in the central Chichester harbour area.
If at any of the anchorages you'll find there are no facilities nearby. For taking on water it will be necessary to go to the shortstay service pontoon at Itchenor. Likewise if you are on the harbour authorities pontoon or mooring buoys, Itchenor service pontoon will be the spot to get water.
Fuel is not available in the central part of Chichester harbour, but is readily available at Sparkes Marina just inside the entrance and Chichester Marina close to Itchenor (Amongst other places).
Any kind of serious provisioning is difficult in the central Chichester harbour area (unless of course you have a car). For the skipper and crew planning to thoroughly check out the area a large stock up will be necessary. Perhaps this is best accomplished by going into one of the marinas, making your way to the nearest big supermarket, and getting them to deliver your large order direct to the Marina.
Itchenor Hard is the main trailer sailor launch/recovery site for the whole of Chichester Harbour. This has access at all of the tidal range with nearby parking, and is under the control of the Chichester Harbour Authorities. There are charges.
Other launch and recovery options are available at Bosham Quay, available at most of the tidal range.
For the larger cruising boat it is possible to dry out and scrub off at Bosham Quay, and the scrubbing posts at Itchenor.
North Shore Yachts are based at Itchenor and can probably sort out boat problems for you, check the directory.
West Itchenor is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England. It lies north of the B2179 Chichester to West Wittering road 4.5 miles (7.3km) southwest of Chichester. The village lies on the shores of Chichester Harbour.
The parish covers an area of 412.98 hectares (1020 acres). In the 2001 census 451 people lived in 209 households, of whom 188 were economically active.
West Itchenor was an ancient parish of the county of Sussex. Until 1894 it formed part of Manhood Hundred, an ancient division of Chichester Rape. From 1894 to 1933 it was part of Westhampnett Rural District. From 1933 to 1974 it was part of Chichester Rural District, and since 1974 it has been a part of Chichester District.
Bosham is a small coastal village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England, situated three miles (5km) west of Chichester on an inlet of Chichester Harbour.
The parish has a land area of 1375.3 hectares (3397 acres). In the 2001 census 2847 people lived in 1313 households, of whom 1358 were economically active.
Bosham is colloquially divided into two halves: Old Bosham and New Bosham. New Bosham constitutes the more developed northern half of the village, situated around the A259 road and the railway line. The village is served by Bosham railway station. It is sometimes referred to by its increasingly obsolete original name, Broadbridge. Old Bosham includes the remaining geographical protrusion to the south. This includes the site of the original village around Bosham Harbour, as well as the tracts of farmland and private property of Bosham Hoe. At high tide the sea comes right into the old village, flooding the lower road and several car parking spaces.
Forming a part of Chichester Harbour, Bosham is renowned for its sailing. The Bosham Sailing Club has recently celebrated its centenary having been formed in 1907.
The site has been inhabited since Roman times, and is close to the famous villa at Fishbourne. The Romans were responsible for the village's Mill Stream as there was no fresh water, and built a basilica there.
Bede mentions Bosham in his book The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, speaking of St Wilfred's visit here in 681 where he encountered a Celtic monk, Dicul, and five disciples in a small monastery.
In 850, the original village church was built on the site of the Roman basilica, and in the tenth century was replaced with Holy Trinity church, situated beside Bosham Quay, that still serves as the local place of worship. The body of a young girl, discovered in a small Saxon coffin when the church floor was being renewed in 1865, is thought to be that of Gunhilda of Denmark, daughter of Canute the Great, who allegedly drowned in the Bosham Mill Stream, and he may have contributed to the building work.
Canute had a palace in the village, probably where the Manor House now stands or possibly at the harbour edge. Legend has it that Bosham was the site at which he commanded the waves to "go back", so as to demonstrate to his overly deferential courtiers the limits of a King's powers.
The village is one of only five places that appear on the map attached to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of around this time.
Bosham is mentioned by name in the Bayeux Tapestry, referring to the 1064 meeting of Harold and Edward the Confessor on the way to meet William of Normandy to discuss who would succeed Edward to the throne:
"Ubi Harold Dux Anglorum et sui milites equitant ad Bosham"
(Where Harold, Earl of the English, and his army ride to Bosham)
Harold's strong association with Bosham and the recent discovery of a Saxon grave in the church has led some historians to speculate that King Harold was buried here following his death at the Battle of Hastings, rather than Waltham Abbey as is often reported. A request to exhume a grave in Bosham church was refused by the Diocese of Chichester in December 2004, the Chancellor ruling that the chances of establishing the identity of the body as that of Harold II were too slim to justify disturbing a burial place.
The Domesday Book lists Bosham as one of the wealthiest manors in England. It included the nearby village of Chidham.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
If at anchor in this area there will be no chance to nip ashore for a swift pint or to pick up some fish and chips... there are no opportunities nearby. If you are the type that likes wallowing in nature this could be good. If you like to eat and drink this is not so good. If you plan to lurk around at anchor you will need to be prepared with a fully stocked up boat.
Things aren't quite so dire if you're on the Quay at Bosham... there are several pubs within easy walking distance as well as an Indian restaurant and a fish and chip shop. A couple of tea rooms/cafes complete the picture here.
Itchenor is not so well served. If on moorings here you have the choice of the village pub, The Ship Inn, or Itchenor Sailing Club.
All in all, village facilities are about the best that can be expected in this central area of Chichester Harbour.