RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Country walk: Smugglers Lane, Bosham

This walk of 4.3 miles (7kms) gives another look at the waterfowl of Chichester Harbour. It starts at Bosham pay car park SU055040. The waterside village boasts King Canute as one of its former inmates.

He could not stop the tide coming in and neither can you if you have parked your car at low tide on the hard in front of the Anchor Bleu. You will then have the mortification of seeing only the roof of your treasured motor and may even find a fish on the back seat four hours later.

Bosham creek hosts hordes of brent geese from about now until mid-March. If you look carefully at their necks you will see which ones are the youngsters, on their first flight out of Russia. They do not have the parson’s dog collar and their plumage has a faintly brown colour compared to the black of their parents.

Take the circling road in a loop to the southern shore. You will see the odd redshank, lapwing maybe, and even some teal and wigeon ducks. Continue south on the road to Smugglers Lane and at the sharp road bend, head straight on into tunnel of trees. This leads you down to the water again which is Chichester Channel, opposite Itchenor. If you wanted to go over the water to that village there is usually a pay ferry. Otherwise turn right, west, along the seashore with its super views to the rest of the harbour.

Note the stand of small tree mallows in front of the noticeboard and the garden seat. Brents and shelducks, curlews and perhaps sea ducks such as mergansers and goldeneyes can often be seen in the main channel. Redshanks feed at low tide in the muddy holes among the spartina grass meadows, which are covered at high tide. To walk around the shore back to Bosham may not be possible at the top of the tide, and perhaps wellington boots even at lower stages of the tide because it is a bit muddy underfoot but in places the going is over hard shingle.

Friends of Chichester Harbour do a good job clearing litter from ferries but the tide also washes up nice things such as mermaids’ purses and oyster shells and flight feathers of 12 species of gulls that use the harbour. Soon you meet the road again and along this are several garden seats for a restful view of harbour life. This is where you would spot the roof of your car above the waves if you had not used the proper car park.