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Sunday 24th August 2008
Thorney Island (anti-clockwise)
8 miles.

Thorney Island is in Chichester Harbour, itself a bird sanctuary, and while it was once an island, it's now effectively a peninsula separated by a narrow channel called the Great Deep. The whole peninsula is owned by the MOD and like most of their places, doubles as a nature reserve with several areas of the island being sites of special scientific interest (SSSI).
It rained for the entire journey down, but the moment we turned the bike off the sun came out and it became perfect walking and sailing weather. There were hundreds of yachts making the most of the holiday weekend by circumnavigating the island. We too circled the island on the only footpath open to the public. To do this we had to go through a checkpoint where we had to identify ourselves. On the way out we were checked out again.

We have been meaning to visit this place for ages and really hoped to see an osprey, which tend to hang around here at this time of year before continuing their migration southwards. No such luck of course, but we did see a Winchat, a Hobby chasing a small bird, Buzzards, Grey Plovers, Curlews, Oystercatchers, a Wasp Spider, 13 Grey Seals and a Stoat attacking some poor screaming little mammal.

The Great Deep, a waterway that bisects the island

Sussex seals!

Part of a 14th Century rood screen in the church at West Thorney. You don't see much woodwork older than this.

Wasp spider