Village feature: Bosham

Looking towards Bosham, from Chidham''Picture by Louise Adams C131032-16 Chi Royal Visit
Looking towards Bosham, from Chidham''Picture by Louise Adams C131032-16 Chi Royal Visit

A VILLAGE on the harbour, Bosham life is as peaceful and tranquil as the water that surrounds it.

The small sailing village is a place which attracts plenty of visitors both, for its calming waterside atmosphere and picturesque views across the harbour.

112144_AERIALS_21/06/11''Aerial view of Bosham.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112144-472)

112144_AERIALS_21/06/11''Aerial view of Bosham.' 'Picture: Allan Hutchings (112144-472)

Gail Powell has lived in the village all her life and said: “It is a lovely place not just for its physical attractions but for the quality of life you get here as well.

“We have a lot of people with second homes and people who retire here.

“So many people want to live here. It is quite far off the beaten track.”

Mike Whittle, who edits the parish magazine Bosham Life, said tourism is a very important part of the village.

“Industries like ship building have long gone, but there is a huge number of visitors, up to 2,000 on a summer’s day,” he said.

“It is a tourist destination because it is so pretty.

“The tourist destination is obviously a very important part of it.”

He said the shopping complex Bosham Walk is a favourite with visitors, with a handful of arts and crafts shops for every taste.

You can get your hands of anything from homemade fudge to a new quirky clock, and you can’t stop by the walk without getting an ice-cream.

With popular pubs, The Anchor Bleu, The White Swan and The Berkeley Arms, and award-winning Indian restaurant Memories of India, there is plenty of choice on the menu.

But it isn’t all about the tourists, there’s plenty for the villagers too.

“The village really centres around the church and the sailing club, with social gatherings,” said Mr Whittle.

“It is a really friendly place. We’ve got a very active church with about 100 people in the congregation.

“Also the primary school has a very good reputation.”

The village hall is always busy, with badminton, carpet bowls, bingo, the women’s institute and keep fit classes, to name a few activities.

Mr Whittle runs the Bosham Forum ‘a unisex women’s institute’ with talks and activities for Bosham residents.

New management took over the Berkeley Arms in January and the pub runs lots of charity events.

Recently, the pub hosted a gig for Oxfam and another for orphans in Africa through music nights.

Restaurant and bar supervisor Penny Henry, said: “Bosham is quite a close-knit community. The pub is quite important to them.”

She said when the pub was taken over by the new management, residents were relieved it wasn’t going to turn into a shop.

The pub has open mic-nights and music nights, as well as a thriving restaurant.

Another part of village life, the high tide, is something all the residents are aware of, when the sea comes rushing in.

“Everybody who lives here is used to it and plans for it, but every resident has been caught by it once, even me,” said Mr Whittle.

There isn’t a huge amount in the way of provisions, apart from a few grocery shops and a Co-op at the entrance to the village, but the lack of chain stores and supermarkets in the heart of the village helps to keep Bosham traditional and quaint, as it has been for centuries.

Bosham is also a place steeped in a rich history, and it was once an important Roman settlement.

Most recently, the mysterious Bosham Head is set to be displayed in Chichester’s museum The Novium from Monday.

The Bosham Head remains a mystery and it is uncertain when exactly it was discovered, but it once stood in the vicarage garden at Bosham.

With speculation that it could represent the god Thor, or a Roman emperor, the piece is currently the subject of a 3D scanning project and major reassessment.

With so many attractions on offer, it is no wonder the village is so popular with holidaymakers, retired couples and those looking to buy second homes.

All of it, the sea, the sailing club, the rich history, the clubs and the community – are parts of what makes 
up the rich tapestry of Bosham.