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Coastal recreation

Chichester District Council manages nine miles of coastline from Pagham Harbour to Chichester Harbour. The entire district coastline has stunning views from Pagham Harbour nature reserve at the Eastern end to views across Chichester Harbour and the Solent in the West. The whole district coastline is important for migrating birds and between Selsey and Bracklesham there is a Site of Specific Interest (SSSI) which is also renowned for fossils from the Eocene period 45 million years ago.

There are several caravan and camping sites in the area and the village of East Wittering offers local shops, cafes and restaurants.


Well controlled barbecues are permitted all along the council run beach from Shore Road in East Wittering to Park Copse in Selsey. In the past coastal defence works have been ignited so we ask that barbecues are kept a minimum of two meters away from wooden groynes and coastal breasts. To avoid upsetting residents we request that barbecues are a minimum of five meters away from private property. Consideration should also be given to wind direction and people in the vicinity. Late night barbecues are to be avoided as can be an annoyance to residents.


There are glorious sandy beaches at West Wittering and East Head which are very popular in the summer months. Bracklesham and Selsey also have splendid gently shelving sandy beaches approximately 2 hours either side of high tide. The area is ideal for a wide range of water sports including swimming, sailing, windsurfing, sea fishing, surfing and diving. There are many different coastal based clubs in the area most of which are listed in our Sports club directory.

The beaches at Selsey, Bracklesham Bay, and West Wittering typically achieve "excellent" water quality ratings and have all passed the stringent EEC bathing water quality standards. See the link to recreational water quality for the latest results.

Car parks

There are three main car parks along our stretch of coast. Parking is available at East Beach and Hillfield Road in Selsey, parking is also available adjacent to the Bracklesham Bay foreshore office where a parking charge is made during the summer months.

Dog control

Dogs are restricted on certain areas of the beach from 1 May to 30 September each year. Further information on the dog byelaws are available from the Dog Control Office or our Dog warden service pages. 


Before lighting a barbecue we suggest you plan how you will dispose of it. If you are going to be on the beach all day then it may have a chance to naturally cool down enabling you to put it in one of the bins provided. If you only plan to be on the beach for a couple of hours then you need to have the means to extinguish the fire. We suggest using sea water, please do not bury disposable barbecues under the shingle as the shingle remains hot and sometimes cracks creating sharp edges which is a hazard for beach users.

Foreshore service

We operate a foreshore service along the coast from Pagham Harbour to Chichester Harbour from Easter to the end of September to enforce the byelaws and ensure public safety.

This service is based at the Bracklesham Bay Boat Office. Please contact the Foreshore office for further information and advice. There is a weather station situated at the Foreshore Office and the current wind direction / speed / temperature and rainfall can be viewed through the offsite link. Other weather information can be found via the Chichester Harbour Conservancy or West Wittering Beach websites, which can be found under Offsite links.

Horse riding

Horses are permitted throughout the year on our beaches from the entrance to Pagham Harbour to our boundary edge at Shore Road in Wittering. However due care and attention must be paid to users of the beach, they are not permitted to jump the breakwaters or race on the beach and owners must clean up after their horses.


One of the biggest complaints about barbecues is the increased litter. Please either take your litter home or put it in one of the bins provided. It may sound obvious but some people don't realise the tide comes in and if the barbecue is still hot then you will have difficulty moving it up the beach.

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